Rs 3,000-4000 crore worth property damaged in rain: Himachal CM

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The Monsoon fury has so far caused losses of Rs 3,000-4,000 crores to Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Monday.

The chief minister during the day presided over a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) to take stock of the situation following the havoc caused by incessant rains and landslides.

The chief minister said that nature’s fury has caused extensive damage to the roads, power transformers, electric sub-stations and numerous water supply schemes by throwing normal life out of gear in various parts of the state, with initial estimate of losses ranging from Rs 3000 crore to Rs. 4000 crore.

To accurately evaluate the damages caused, the Chief Minister directed the committee headed by Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi to convene a meeting soon.

He also directed all the Deputy Commissioners to remain vigilant for the next 10 days and provide all possible assistance to the affected persons.

Expressing deep sorrow over the loss of lives and property caused by the landslides and flash floods, the Chief Minister assured that the state Government is making all-out efforts to tackle the situation efficiently.

He said prompt rescue operations were launched in the affected areas and many precious lives had been saved by taking timely action.

He asked the district authorities to involve representatives from Panchayati Raj Institutions and local residents to undertake relief and rescue operations and instructed immediate restoration of electricity and water supply in affected areas so that people are not inconvenienced.

He also directed that Bailey Bridges be constructed to replace the damaged ones, in order to facilitate the movement of stranded people.

Sukhu said efforts were underway to evacuate around 300 stranded tourists and residents in Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu districts by using helicopters once the weather permits.

He directed adequate arrangements be made for accommodation, food, and essential items for the stranded people, besides preparing a state-wise list of stranded tourists.

Instructing the Deputy Commissioners to expedite relief work, Sukhu assured that the state government will ensure sufficient funds are available for assisting the affected people. The chief minister said he was likely to visit the affected areas soon to make on-the-spot assessment.

With the apple season approaching, the Chief Minister laid stress on the restoration of roads in apple-growing regions at the earliest to ensure smooth transportation of the fruit, thereby preventing losses to the growers.

He announced the allocation of Rs four crores for the immediate repair of roads in the apple-producing areas.

Meanwhile, state Congress president Pratibha Singh appealed to the well-off and party workers to come forward in the rescue and relief operations and donate generously. She urged the government to reach out to the affected people and provide financial assistance to those who lost their family members and suffered damages to property.

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