Shimla: As many as 23 persons lost their lives due to rains and snowfall during the first two months of this year in Himachal Pradesh, state government told Assembly during the Question Hour.
Property worth Rs 229 crore was also damaged or destroyed in the natural phenomenon, Revenue Minister Kaul Singh told the Assembly.
Maximum 15 deaths were reported in Kinnaur district, followed by eight in Shimla district, he said in reply to a question of BJP members.
The loss to private property was assessed at Rs 133 crore while apple trees suffered heavy losses in Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi and Kullu districts.
"The government is assessing the loss to apple crops and has sought report from the districts," he said.
Suresh Bharadwaj of BJP said that apple nursery has also been damaged in Shimla district and apple plantation has been badly hit and sought relief for the farmers.
The minister said that new apple plantations have suffered heavy losses and assured the government would give relief in view the availability of financial resources.
When Mohinder Singh Thakur of BJP pointed out that banana and mango plantations have also suffered losses in lower hills due to extensive rains and frost, Singh said directions have already been issued to district administration to assess the loss and send the report.
He said that the government had disbursed Rs 121.83 crore as immediate relief to affected people for restoration of public and private property.