SHIMLA: BJP president J P Nadda on Sunday said the disaster in Himachal Pradesh is not an occasion to score political points, asking the Congress government to “tell us the problem and place the demand, it would be taken care of”.
All efforts should be on relief, restoration and rehabilitation, Nadda told reporters here after visiting the rain-affected areas of Poanta in Sirmaur and Shimla town. He said that the Centre is providing all possible help to Himachal and the Union Home Ministry on Sunday released Rs 200 crore for the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
”I am saddened and concerned over the loss of human lives and properties in the state,” the BJP chief said.
हिमाचल प्रदेश में प्राकृतिक आपदा से हुई जनहानि व नुकसान और राहत कार्यों के संदर्भ में मुख्यमंत्री @SukhuSukhvinder जी के साथ आज शिमला में बैठक की। इस आपदा से निपटने के लिए हम सभी एकजुट होकर देवभूमि के लोगों की सेवा के लिए समर्पित हैं।
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) August 20, 2023
Referring to the demand of Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to declare the tragedy a national disaster, Nadda said adequate financial aid would be given and it does not matter whether the calamity is declared a national disaster. He said that earlier Rs 360 crore was given from the central share of the SDRF in two instalments on August 10 and 17, and a fund of Rs 189 crore out of Rs 315 crore held over objections was also released. The remaining amount would also be released shortly after the state government submits the desired information to the Centre, he said.
The Centre is concerned over the grave situation in the rain-battered state, said Nadda who along with Union minister Anurag Thakur, former chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and state BJP chief Rajiv Bindal was on a tour of the state to take stock of the situation.
About 20 teams of the National Disaster Response Force are engaged in the state and three helicopters of the Indian Air force have rescued over 1000 people in 70 sorties, he said. Long term planning with alternative mechanisms of development is required to check reoccurrence of such disaster and the experts would take the call in this regard, Nadda added.
During his visit to flood-hit areas of Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur, the BJP chief also met a family which lost five members in flashfloods on August 10.
”Himachal has suffered huge losses and the Union government is seriously concerned about the situation. Efforts are afoot by the administration to provide relief and take up restoration and rehabilitation works. Central help would continue to pour in and all the displaced people would be rehabilitated,” he told reporters.
Later, Nadda also visited the Shiva temple site in Summer Hill which was damaged following a landslide on August 14. He also visited Krishna Nagar area where several houses had collapsed after a landslide. On Friday, the Himachal Pradesh government declared the state a ”Natural Calamity Affected Area” in view of the damage caused by heavy rains. Chief Minister Sukhu claimed that the state has suffered losses of Rs 10,000 crore.
The death toll in rain-related incidents in the state has climbed to 78. Of the 78 deaths since August 13, 24 were from the three landslides in Shimla alone — 17 at the Shiva temple in Summer Hill, five in Fagli, and two in Krishna Nagar.
Since the onset of the monsoon in Himachal on June 24, 224 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state while 38 others are missing, according to the state emergency operation centre.
Besides, over 12,000 houses have been damaged completely or partially, and about 560 roads are still blocked in the state, it said.
Source: Press Trust of India