In the State Level Disaster Management Authority meeting here today, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that though monsoon rains have been less than the normal yet the incessant rains have caused intensive damage to both the public and private property in the State. He said that the Government right from the day one had been on toes, visiting the disaster or flood affected areas and providing immediate relief to the people.
The roads and drinking water schemes bore the maximum brunt of the havoc created by rains. As many as 31 human lives have been lost while 633 cattle perished besides loss/damage to houses. The Government has restored many roads and drinking water supply schemes, said the Chief Minister. Apart from the departmental machinery which includes 342 Excavators-cum-loaders, dozers etc, machinery worth Rs 280 crore has been hired for PWD for district Shimla, Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur and the total loss of damaged roads and bridges was assessed around Rs 412 crore.
Chief Minister directed for opening all roads by 22nd August, 2014 and restoring the bridge on National Highway 88 over Kunah rivulet for restoration of which, Bailey Bridge material has been sent. Similarly, the Seer Khad Bridge at Jahu in Hamirpur district and Baghi Khad bridge on Prashar road in Mandi district will be restored on priority, he said. Out of 336 roads closed during the prevailing monsoons till 16th August, as many as 187 roads have been opened and 132 roads were likely to be opened by today itself. State Government also provided funds to the PWD circles for undertaking restoration works on priority.
The Chief Minister stressed on restoring roads in far-flung and tribal areas of the State before the ensuing apple season so that the apple produce reaches the markets well in time. He also stressed on opening of rural roads so that the farmers do not face any difficulty in marketing their produce.
Discussing the bottle-neck on Shimla-Kinnaur National Highway, the Chief Minister asserted to find a permanent solution to the landslide zone near Urni. He said that the practice of sprinkler and Kuhl irrigation should be discouraged in the fragile zones of the district Kinnaur as this was being seen as a major reason for the landslips besides the blasting undertaken by various companies to construct tunnels which had further shakened the fragile hills of the Kinnaur.
Reviewing the damage caused to the Irrigation and Public Health, the Chief Minister directed them to restore the rural drinking water schemes on priority.
As many as 1953 rural water supply schemes were either fully or partially damaged and till date 1869 such schemes had been restored, besides fourteen urban drinking water schemes. The IPH department has been made interim allocation of Rs four crore besides 22.36 crore had been allocated to the PWD for immediate restoration of roads. It was also agreed to provide Rs. two crore to HPSEB Ltd. for restoration work.
The Chief Minister said that he had personally met and written to Government of India for releasing the remaining funds sanctioned for meeting out the losses due to disaster in last financial year. He said that around Rs 252 crore was sanctioned and the Government had received around Rs 95 crore till date. He said that the GoI had agreed for releasing the remaining fund soon to carry out re-habilitation works.
He said that all the Deputy Commissioner had personally gone to disaster affected areas and besides providing financial aid to the affected families had distributed ration, clothes and other essential items to the affected families.
The Deputy Commissioners of district Sirmaur and Hamirpur had also sent the reports of the loss caused in their districts due to incessant rains and also the relief provided to the people.
Chief Minister said that the Government was alive to the happenings in the State and was taking every measure from the very first day of monsoon to restore life to normalcy.
Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, Chief Secretary P. Mitra, Additional Chief Secretaries V.C. Pharka and Vineet Chaudhary, DGP Sanjay Kumar and other senior officers of the State Government were present in the meeting.