Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu urges Customized Relief Package for Himachal Pradesh’s Unique Challenges
Shimla, August 21, 2023:
In response to the devastating recent disaster in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, along with BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, held a comprehensive discussion to address the widespread damage caused by the calamity.
During the meeting, Chief Minister Sukhu provided a comprehensive overview of the extent of destruction wreaked upon Himachal Pradesh due to the disaster. He emphasized the urgent need for a substantial financial aid package similar to those provided during the Kedarnath and Bhuj tragedies to facilitate the state’s recovery efforts. Sukhu highlighted the severity of the situation, including substantial landslides, widespread destruction of homes, and extensive damage to both public and private property. He noted that the current Relief Manual of the Union government’s financial provisions are insufficient to adequately compensate the losses faced by Himachal Pradesh. In light of the unique geographical conditions and the severity of the disaster, he called for a specially tailored relief package.
Chief Minister Sukhu also raised concerns over the delayed release of the first installment of interim relief from the Union Government. He urged JP Nadda and Anurag Singh Thakur to expedite the process of providing financial assistance. He revealed that the disaster, characterized by heavy rains and landslides during the current monsoon season, had resulted in losses exceeding Rs. 10,000 crore. Despite central government assessment teams being dispatched, the interim relief remains pending. The Chief Minister highlighted that the state government had been utilizing its limited resources to support the affected population.
Sukhu pointed out that the Union Government had released Rs. 360 crore annually under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in two installments. He mentioned that out of the held-up Rs. 315 crore, the Union government had released Rs. 189 crore due to the state government’s efforts in addressing audit objections. He called for the swift disbursement of the remaining Rs. 126 crore.
The Chief Minister noted that by August 10, 2023, the state government had submitted claims amounting to Rs. 6,700 crore by providing a detailed report of the damages incurred to the central government.
Sukhu also highlighted the state’s initiatives to enhance structural engineering and drainage systems, including plans for a new town near Shimla in Jathiya Devi.
BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda reiterated the Union government’s commitment to providing significant assistance to Himachal Pradesh in light of the unprecedented loss. He assured that efforts would be made to expedite the release of the interim relief’s first installment. Nadda emphasized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unwavering support for the state during these challenging times. He underscored the Union Government’s determination to mitigate the losses and ensure sufficient funds for recovery.