Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Indian National Congress Committee General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi today took stock of the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the disaster-affected areas of Shiv Bawari, Krishnanagar and Kanlog areas of Shimla City.
Sh. Sukhu and Priyanka Gandhi interacted with affected families at Shiv Bawari and expressed grief over the loss of life and property in the tragic mishap.
While interacting with the media on the occasion, Priyanka Gandhi emphasized the severity of the devastation triggered by torrential rains during this monsoon season and urged the Union Government to declare it as National Disaster keeping in view the huge losses. She said, “The situation in Himachal Pradesh is very painful and the State has suffered immense losses. The State Government led by Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is working tirelessly to provide relief to the disaster affected people. The Union Government seems to be unable to grasp the gravity of the situation in Himachal Pradesh. The losses in the State are so substantial that the State Government cannot handle it alone. Therefore, the Union Government must rise above the petty politics and help generously the people of the State during this challenging time”.
She emphasized the need to rise above the political differences and called for collective efforts to aid Himachal Pradesh in this time of need. She said that though the Congress Party was not aware of the agenda to be brought during the special session of the Parliament, the Congress Party would raise the issue during this special session and urged for special relief package for the state. She said the party will represent the matter with the Union Government in Parliament. She said that there were certain areas which must be fixed by the Union Government and the Central Government must not politicize the matter merely on the basis of party lines and shall extend wholehearted support to alleviate the sufferings and help the State recover from this devastating disaster.
Smt. Priyanka Gandhi also commended the spirit of unity and cooperation demonstrated by the people who were coming forward to contribute to cope up with the tragedy. She said, “It was heartening to witness the selfless contributions of the people with women even donating their labour to reopen the roads in Kullu district. She said that reduction of import duty on American apples from 35 percent to 15 percent has also affected the apple growers of Himachal. She said that the Union Government was helping Americans instead of the apple growers of the State who had already gone through the hardships caused by the devastation. She further said that big business houses were offering lower prices for the purchase of apple produce in Himachal.
On the occasion of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the State Government was extending unwavering support to the affected families despite its limited resources and has decided to provide fixed rent to the affected families staying in relief camps so that they can hire suitable accommodation.
He said that the State Government would provide Rs. 5000 in rural areas and Rs. 10000 in urban areas for bearing the rent expenses. He said that in view of large-scale devastation during the ongoing monsoon season in the State, a large number of temporary relief camps have been set up in many districts of the State. Many of these relief camps have been set up in make-shift accommodations and schools etc. In view of this, the Government has decided to provide rented accommodation to the families staying in relief camps.
Deputy Chief Minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, State Congress President and Member Parliament, Pratibha Singh, Health Minister, Dr.(Colonel) Dhani Ram Shandil, Agriculture Minister, Chander Kumar, Industries Minister, Harshwardhan Chauhan, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Anirudh Singh, Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Sunil Bittu, Principal Media Advisor to Chief Minister, Naresh Chauhan, MLA Harish Janartha, Mayor Shimla Municipal Corporation, Surender Chauhan, Deputy Mayor, Uma Kaushal, Deputy Commissioner, Aditya Negi and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.