Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur here today convened a detailed discussion to address the extensive damage caused by a recent disaster in Himachal Pradesh.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister provided a comprehensive overview of the destruction wreaked upon Himachal Pradesh by the calamity. He appealed for financial aid akin to that provided during the Kedarnath and Bhuj tragedies to aid the state’s recovery efforts. The Chief Minister underscored the severity of the situation, and said that substantial landslides, widespread destruction of homes, and extensive damage to public and private property have been caused. He said that the current Relief Manual of the Union government’s financial provisions are inadequate to compensate the losses of Himachal Pradesh and called for a specially tailored relief package considering the state’s geographical conditions and the severity of the disaster.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu also took up the issue of delayed release of the first installment of interim relief from the Union Government. He implored JP Nadda and Anurag Singh Thakur to expedite the process of providing financial assistance, revealing that the disaster had resulted in losses surpassing Rs. 10,000 crore due to heavy rains and landslides in the current monsoon season. He said that despite assessment teams being sent by the central government, the interim relief was still pending. The Chief Minister said that the state government had been utilizing its limited resources to support the impacted population.
The Chief Minister said that the allocation of Rs. 360 crore annually under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in two instalments has been released by the Union Government. He said that the release of Rs. 189 crore out of the held-up Rs. 315 crore, has been made by the Union government due to state government efforts in addressing audit objections. He called for the prompt disbursement of the remaining Rs. 126 crore.
The Chief Minister said that by 10th August 2023, the state government has raised claims worth Rs. 6,700 crore by sending a detailed report of the damages caused in the state to the central government.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu also elaborated on the state’s initiatives to enhance structural engineering and drainage systems, including plans for a new town near Shimla in Jathiya Devi.
BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda expressed the Union government commitment to offering substantial assistance to Himachal Pradesh in view of the unprecedented loss. He assured that efforts would be directed towards securing the earliest release of the interim relief’s first installment. Nadda emphasized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge of unwavering support to the state during these challenging times. He said that it is the resolve of the Union Government in mitigating the losses incurred and ensuring adequate funds for recovery.
Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur also provided their insights during the meeting.
MPs Suresh Kashyap and Sikandar Kumar, Principal Advisor (Media) to the Chief Minister, Naresh Chauhan, BJP State President Dr. Rajeev Bindal, Former Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, MLA Balbir Verma, Former MLA Ram Lal Markanda, Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Bharat Kheda, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister Vivek Bhatia, dignitaries and senior officers were present on the occasion.