Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today distributed Rs 31 crore financial assistance as the first installment in the first phase to 3800 disaster affected families of district Mandi under the ‘Rehabilitation’ scheme. Under the special relief package, he provided Rs 3 lakh each as the first installment for reconstruction of completely damaged houses and the entire amount of compensation to other affected people.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that Himachal Pradesh had suffered huge losses due to torrential rains, landslides and floods during Monsoon season this year. He said that he had never seen such a disaster in his life. He said that every section of the society had come forward to tackle this challenge and all his cabinet colleagues, MLAs and all public representatives showed solidarity to work in unison to overcome this disastrous situation. He said that 75 thousand tourists stranded in the state were evacuated as a mission. Electricity, water and other essential facilities were temporarily restored within 48 hours. He said that the State had suffered over a loss of Rs 12000 crore due to the disaster.
The Chief Minister said that the present state government is the government of the common man and poor and recognizes their pain and sufferings very well. He said that the state government does not work on political considerations, but takes decisions on humanitarian grounds. He said that relief and rescue operations were undertaken in every affected area without any discrimination or political alignment of the public representatives of the area concerned.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that he had repeatedly urged the Central Government to declare the disaster as a national disaster and demanded a special relief package for Himachal Pradesh to overcome this disaster. He said that he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but till now no financial assistance has been received as a special relief package. He said that Congress MP Pratibha Singh also met the Prime Minister and demanded to help Himachal Pradesh in this hour of disaster. Not only this, even when a resolution was brought during the recently concluded Assembly session to declare the disaster in Himachal Pradesh as a national disaster, the BJP MLAs did not respond positively for the betterment of the affected people of the State.
The Chief Minister said that to help the disaster affected people, the State Government has created a Aapda Rahat Kosh in which a historic Rs 230 crore have been contributed by the various organizations and individuals, which reflects the humanitarian approach of the people of the State. He said that even children donated their piggy banks towards Aapda Rahat Kosh. He said that the State Government has so far sent claims worth Rs 10 thousand crore to the Central Government and the process of submitting remaining claims worth Rs 2 thousand crore is underway.
He said that the State Government has enhanced compensation given in case of a completely damaged house by five and a half times to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 1.30 lakh. Apart from this, the State Government will provide free electricity and water connection and cement on Rs 280 per bag on government rates for construction of houses. Apart from this, the compensation given in case of partial damage to kutcha and pucca houses has been increased to Rs one lakh under the Special Relief Package.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the compensation given for damage to shops and dhabas has been increased four times from Rs 25 thousand to Rs one lakh. The state government has also increased compensation being given for the loss of cow shed from Rs 3 thousand to Rs 50 thousand. The state government has enhanced the amount of Rs 2500 being given to tenants for the loss of their belongings by 20 times and will provide an assistance amount of Rs 50 thousand.
He said that the compensation amount given for the loss of agricultural and horticulture land has been increased from Rs 3615 per bigha to Rs 10,000 per bigha. The amount given for the damage to crops has been enhanced eight times from Rs 500 per bigha to Rs 4000. The financial assistance given for removing silt from agricultural and horticultural land has been increased from Rs 1384.61 per bigha to Rs 5000. This special package will be effective from 24th June, 2023 to 30th September, 2023. He said that a complete compensation amount will be given to every affected person and its verification will also be done. He said that the State Government will not allow any hindrance in the development of the district Mandi.
The Chief Minister said that he has come to power to serve the people of the State and to take decisions with a positive approach to change the system. He said that Himachal Pradesh has become the first State in the country to give the status of Children of the State to orphan children by making a law and the responsibility of taking care of them for 27 years now lies with the state government. Under the Mukhya Mantri Sukh Ashraya Yojana, their tuition fees, Rs 4,000 pocket money, exposure visit once a year as well as financial assistance for marriage and starting a business were being provided, he added.
Government Senior Secondary School, Chailchowk presented cheques of Rs. one lakh, Crusher Owner Council Rs 11 lakh, Jogindernagar Mandal Congress Rs 5.51 lakh and Sarkaghat Mandal Congress Rs. 1.61 lakh to Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu towards Aapda Rahat Kosh on the occasion.
The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of the Police Station (Vigilance) to be constructed at a cost of Rs 6.43 crore in Mandi.
Congress State President and MP Pratibha Singh appreciated the efforts of the State Government and especially Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu for effectively tackling the unprecedented situation created by the disaster. She lauded the decision of the State Government for providing a package of Rs 4500 crore for the disaster affected people. She also commended the Chief Minister for donating Rs 51 lakh from his savings towards Aapda Rahat Kosh to help the needy which shows his concern for the affected families. She wrote a letter to all the BJP MPs urging them to meet the PM in the hour of disaster but no BJP MP responded to it, she added.
MLA Chandershekhar said that 44 people lost their lives and people suffered huge losses in Mandi district during the disaster. He said that the Chief Minister himself monitored the rescue operation in Nagwain of Mandi and provided strong leadership to the entire State.
MLA Anil Sharma said that he had never seen such a huge tragedy earlier in his life. He congratulated the officers and employees for their better work during the disaster and said that help was provided to every affected person. He expressed his gratitude to the State Government for providing a special relief package of Rs 4500 crore to help the disaster affected people.
Former Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that this time a huge tragedy has happened during the rainy season in which Himachal Pradesh has suffered a loss of Rs 12 thousand crores. He said that BJP did politics even in the disaster and did not support the proposal to declare national disaster in the Assembly. He said that the Chief Minister has made a historic increase in the compensation amount for the affected people.
District Congress President and former Minister Prakash Chaudhary said that such a disaster had not happened before, in which many houses were damaged and loss worth over Rs. 12000 crore was caused. He said that the Congress party has always stood with the common man. He said that the Chief Minister set an example for the country by contributing Rs 51 lakh from his own savings.
Chairman APMC Mandi Sanjeev Guleria while welcoming the Chief Minister expressed his gratitude for providing relief to the affected families. He said that the Chief Minister considers every affected person as his family and stayed at ground zero to monitor the relief and rescue operations.
During the programme, ICICI Bank and ICICI Foundation handed over documents for two Force Gurkha and two Mahindra Camper vehicles as well as documents of 10 foot over bridge to the Chief Minister to speed up the rehabilitation works in District Mandi.
Former Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sohan Singh Thakur, Congress leader Pawan Thakur, Vijay Pal Singh, Champa Thakur, Chet Ram Thakur, Jeevan Thakur, Naresh Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary, SP Soumya Sambashivan and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.