Monsoon fury: HP suffers losses to the tune of Rs 600 crore

Shimla/August 26 (NG News)
Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur on Tuesday said that Himachal has suffered losses worth Rs 600 crore due to heavy rains lately and particularly incessant rains on August 14-15, coupled with flashfloods, cloudbursts and landslides at many places.

Thakur said that as many as 33 human lives were lost and around 610 animals were perished besides, heavy damages were caused to public and private property in several parts of the state. “Approximate loss assessed so far stood at Rs 600 crore and the exact details of loss is being assessed,” he said.

The Minister said that memorandum of the losses based on the damage reports were being prepared and would be sent to Government of India shortly for seeking central assistance. He further informed that rainfall in the State as a whole was 140 % to 204% above normal during the above two days. The worst affected districts are Mandi and Hamirpur, besides districts of Kangra, Kullu, Bilaspur, Kinnaur, Sirmaur and Solan also suffered heavy losses and many roads and houses were damaged due to landslides in these districts too. Apart from this few bridges were also washed away, he said.

To deal with the situation, State Emergency Operation Center had been set up at State Headquarters. Apart from this, District Emergency Operation Centre’s had been set up in each district and were made fully functional for better coordination in case of any eventuality, he said.

He said that rainfall in the state as a whole was 140 percent to 204 percent above normal during the above two days. “The worst affected districts are Mandi and Hamirpur. Besides this, Kangra, Kullu, Bilaspur, Kinnaur, Sirmaur and Solan districts also suffered heavy losses and many roads and houses suffered damages due to landslides in these districts too,” he said, adding that few bridges were also washed away in flash floods.

The Revenue minister said that state Emergency Operation Center had been set up at state headquarters to deal with the situation and apart from this, District Emergency Operation Centre’s had been set up in each district which had been made functional for better coordination in case of any eventuality. “All the Additional District Magistrates have been appointed as Nodal Officers for Disaster Management and their telephone numbers were advertised through leading Hindi as well as English newspapers,” the Revenue minister said.

He said that Rs 1.15 Crore have been released for the creation of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). “During the year 2013-14, a sum of Rs 293.00 Crore has been allocated to the districts and departments for providing immediate relief, rehabilitation, repair and restoration of damaged works and maintenance of public property,” he said.

Thakur said that adequate funds have been provided to Deputy Commissioners, department of PWD, IPH, Power and Agriculture for carrying out relief works and so far an amount of Rs 76.50 Crore has been released.
The Minister added that more assistance would be given further as per the demand and relief material was being disbursed strictly in accordance with the norms laid down in the Disaster Management and Relief Manual, 2012 that was prepared by the previous BJP government. He said that in a way the leaders of the BJP were criticizing their own norms through media. “The present government has, in fact, liberalized the norms and enhanced the quantum of relief where necessary. The BJP government has also gone to the extent of denying ex-gratia to the next of kin in case of Non-Himachalis, a step which was insensitive and against humanitarianism,” he added.

He added that Memorandum of Losses would be submitted to the Central government only after detailed survey and assessment, and not as a knee jerk reaction to a situation.