Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today distributed a compensation of Rs 8.97 crore to 1162 families affected by the disaster caused by recent heavy rains and landslides in Bilaspur district under the ‘Punrvaas’ Scheme. He provided Rs 3 lakh each as the first installment to 94 affected families whose houses were completely damaged during the disaster in the district Bilaspur. The Chief Minister gave Rs 3.93 crore to 404 families under Bilaspur Sadar development block, Rs 4.55 crore to 532 disaster-affected families under Ghumarwin, Rs 1.21 crore to 198 affected families under Jhanduta and Rs 19.10 lakh to 28 affected families under Swarghat development block.
“Distribution of relief funds has been started within three months of the disaster, which shows the commitment of the state government towards the welfare of the affected”, said the Chief Minister and added that during the discussions on special relief package, he instructed the officials that it was the responsibility of the state government to rehabilitate all the 16 thousand families. To achieve the same, the state government has brought a special package of Rs 4500 crore, under which the compensation given in case of complete damage to the house has been increased from rupees one lakh 30 thousand to Rs 7 lakh. Along with this, electricity and water connections were being provided free of cost and cement for the construction of houses would be made available at the rate of Rs 280 per bag, he added. The state government was mulling to provide free TD to the disaster-affected families, said Sh. Sukhu.
The Chief Minister said that when the present state government assumed office 11 months ago, the government treasury was almost empty. The debt burden was of Rs 75 thousand crore and the liabilities of government employees worth Rs 10 thousand crore. Due to the economic mismanagement of the previous BJP government, Himachal was facing a serious economic crisis today. To make people aware of the real economic status, a white paper was brought in the state Assembly by the government, reiterated Sh. Sukhu. Today every Himachali citizen has a loan of more than one lakh rupees, but the present state government was making strong efforts to bring the economy of the state back on track, he remarked.
The state government has implemented the old pension scheme for the employees of the state in the very first cabinet, so that they can get social security and a respectful life in their old age, he said.
The Chief Minister said that the government was working hard to bring the financial condition of the state back on track, and in between heavy rains in the state created a severe disaster. During this catastrophe, he himself and other cabinet colleagues conducted relief operations from ground zero and electricity, water and mobile services were temporarily restored within 48 hours and 75 thousand tourists and 15 thousand vehicles were evacuated safely. Free food facilities were provided to the tourists stranded on the way. The government officials made earnest efforts to deliver the crops of farmers and gardeners to the markets, which showed the devotion and commitment of the state government as well. He said that due to the sudden release of water from the dam, 3000 people stranded in Fatehpur and Indora of Kangra district were rescued safely.
“Even when small children were breaking their piggy banks and donating to the disaster relief fund, the BJP did not stand with the people of Himachal. Solidarity in times of disaster is the culture of Himachal Pradesh but BJP and its leaders did not even care about it,” said Sh. Sukhu. The Chief Minister remarked that he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the special relief package for the disaster-hit Himachal, but till now the state was still waiting for the same. He said that the state government has sent claims worth Rs 12,000 crore to the central government and urged the Government of India to release this amount as soon as possible.
The state government was making all-out efforts for the development of Bilaspur district, said the Chief Minister and added that to provide employment and self-employment opportunities to the youth here, efforts were being made to start activities related to water sports in Govind Sagar Lake. He said that the foundation stone of the sewage scheme worth Rs 100 crore for Bilaspur will be laid soon. He said that the state government has taken the initiative to restore the rights of Himachal and urged BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda to support Himachal in getting 12 per cent royalty in BBMB power projects. The state government was making serious efforts to solve the problems of the Bhakra Dam displaced people as well, he added.
MLA Rajesh Dharmani while expressing gratitude to Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu for the historic increase in the special relief package said that this has ensured timely and necessary help to the affected. NITI Aayog, World Bank as well as former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar also lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister.
Former MLA Biru Ram Kishore said that the government was ensuring help to every affected person without any discrimination.
Former MLA Bumber Thakur said that during the disaster, the Chief Minister himself led the relief and rescue operations. Considering the seriousness of this tragedy, he issued a special relief package in which the compensation amount has been increased manifold.
Former MLA Tilak Raj Sharma thanked the Chief Minister for organizing the Punrvaas program in Bilaspur district.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq detailed the steps being taken for the rehabilitation of disaster-affected families in the district.
Congress District President Anjana Dhiman, Congress leader Vivek Kumar, Municipal Council President Kamalendra Kashyap, District Council member Gaurav Sharma and other dignitaries were present.