Himachal seeks Rs 1,000 crore relief from Centre



New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore for restoration works in the flood-affected areas of the state.

Singh told the Prime Minister that so far 24 lives were lost in the state while 1,239 people have been evacuated to safer places.

He said the government has carried out rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations on a massive scale by engaging its entire machinery, besides support from Army, ITBP, Border Roads Organisation and other agencies.

Kinnaur district of the state, the chief minister said, is the worst affected which received unprecedented 1229 per cent above normal rainfall from June 15 to 17.

Singh said the state government has released funds of Rs 28 crore as an immediate relief measure. He added that more than 10,000 animals have perished in flash floods and more than 1,000 houses have been either fully damaged or are beyond repair.

He said the loss to private property is estimated at around Rs 100 crore, while 2,120 roads in the state have been badly affected resulting in a loss of over Rs 1,000 crore.

The Chief Minister said a total of 525 water supply, 280 irrigation and five sewerage schemes and 30 flood protection works have been damaged resulting a loss of over Rs 200 crore.

Singh said more than 50,000 hectares of agriculture land has been affected resulting a loss of over Rs 200 crore. He said that an area of over 50,000 hectare of horticulture land has been affected resulting in loss of over Rs 400 crore.

Power infrastructure has also been severely damaged and various projects have also suffered extensive damage which is estimated at Rs 500 crore alone.

While essential commodities have been made available in most areas and airlifted to cut-off areas to meet requirements for the next two months, he sought deployment of BRO engineers at Kinnaur to expedite restoration of National Highway 22.

Singh requested the Defence Ministry to formulate long- term plan particularly for the stretch from Wangtu to Kaurik, as the road has been ravaged by repeated floods each year since 2000 and suggested development of alternative road connectivity at higher elevation for lasting solutions.

The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the state government for launching massive relief operations and rescue of tourists, and assured all possible help and assistance from the Centre for reconstruction and relief works.

PTI