NEW DELHI

Himachal seeks 1000-cr relief package

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday.– PHOTO: PTI

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday.– PHOTO: PTI  

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought a Rs.1,000-crore package immediately to carry out relief and rehabilitation work in the State’s flood-affected areas.

Mr. Virbhadra informed Dr. Singh that so far 24 lives have been lost in the State while 1,239 people have been evacuated to safer places. Relief operations were being carried out on a massive scale by the State machinery with the support of the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Roads Organisation and other agencies.

He said the State Government had already released funds of Rs.28 crore.

The interior tribal district of Kinnaur was the worst affected, he said, as from June 15-17 it received unprecedented rainfall which was 1,229 per cent above normal. Over 10,000 animals have perished in flash floods and more than 1,000 houses have been either fully damaged or are beyond repair. He put the loss of private property at around Rs.100 crore.

He said that 2,120 roads in the State were badly affected resulting in a loss of over Rs.1,000 crore. A total of 525 water supply and 280 irrigation schemes, five sewerage schemes and 30 flood protection works have been damaged resulting in a loss of over Rs.200 crore. In addition to this, around 50,000 hectares of agricultural land have been affected resulting in a loss of over Rs.200 crore. About 50,000 hectares of horticulture land has also been affected resulting in loss of over Rs.400 crore.

The power infrastructure, including hydel power projects, have also been severely damaged and this loss is estimated at Rs.500 crore. While essential commodities have been airlifted to cut-off areas to meet requirements for the next two months, Mr. Singh sought deployment of BRO engineers at Kinnaur to speed up restoration of National Highway-22. He urged the Defence Ministry to formulate a long-term plan, particularly for the Wangtu-Kaurik stretch, as the road is ravaged by repeated floods each year. The Chief Minister suggested development of alternative road connectivity at higher elevation for lasting solutions.

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