Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Monday announced at a joint press conference here that the Uttarakhand Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority had been constituted and would be entrusted with the task of rehabilitation of the disaster-affected persons and reconstruction of affected areas.

The statutory body, to be chaired by the Chief Minister, would take into account safeguards required in view of challenges to be faced 100 years from now.

The authority, comprising experts from different fields, would ensure transparency in the utilisation of large funds to be received by the State government from the Centre and other sources.

The Chief Minister also imposed a blanket ban on construction of houses and commercial establishments along the banks of rivers.

Help from ADB, World Bank

Apart from the Rs. 1,000 crore package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reconstruction and rebuilding efforts, an additional Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 crore was expected from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the purpose, Mr. Ramesh said.

Mr. Ramesh said the Centre would consider the Chief Minister’s request to immediately rehabilitate 238 villages that were badly mauled by nature’s fury.

All cut-off villages would be given sanction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. In the first phase, a total road length of 500 km would be constructed and would be increased to 1000 km if required, Mr. Ramesh said.

The Centre would sanction an additional 14000 housing units under the Indira Awas Yojna and additional funds would be allotted under the MNREGA to help the people earn a livelihood.

Compensation

Giving out details of the decision taken at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr. Bahuguna said that it had been decided to compensate everyone who suffered losses. The compensation for damage was up to Rs. 1 lakh to ordinary restaurants and dhabas, Rs. 2 lakh to completely damaged hotels, 10, 20 or 30 % of the total damage to different types of bigger hotels. The electricity and water tax dues of the affected families have been waived from June 1, 2013 to March 2014.

Similarly, the loans taken by disaster-affected families from the Uttarakhand State Cooperative Bank and the District Cooperative Banks would be kept in abeyance for one year.

Relief for families

Families whose villages had been cut off would be given 15 kg rice , 15 kg wheat flour, five kg pulses, three kg sugar, one litre refined oil, spices, salt, match boxes and 10 litres of kerosene oil free of cost.

All students studying in schools, intermediate colleges and ITI will be given a onetime relief of Rs. 500 per student. Likewise, all the students studying in polytechnic, degree colleges and other institutions will be given Rs. 1000 each.

The government will take care of children orphaned in the disaster, Mr. Bahuguna has said.