No government building to be built along rivulets : Virbhadra Singh
INVC NEWS Shimla, Clear directions were issued by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to Public Works department to categorically refuse to construct any structure or building of any department along river beds, nullahas or seasonal rivulets. He was presiding over the State Management Disaster Authority (SDMA) meeting here today. “I would like to initiate an inquiry as to who and under what circumstances the site was selected for construction of Bus Stand at Dharampur along the river banks,” he said, adding that it was negligence on the part of those who ignored the threat of flash floods and constructed the bus stand along the river bed by erecting a retaining wall to stop flow of river water. This has not only revealed the absent mindedness of the concerned but also affected the State ex-chequer as well. Shri Virbhadra Singh directed all the departments to have disaster reduction and mitigation plan. He said that it should not be merely on documents or papers but should be integrated in their activities. It has been seen that all the natural culverts on National Highways have been blocked and the water overflows on roads thus causing damage to them, said the Chief Minister giving direction to PWD that all the culverts along the entire national and State Highways should be opened as soon as possible so that the water finds it natural passage instead flowing all around. The people who have encroached upon such nullahas or have blocked the culverts may face the consequences. He issued directions to obtain utilization certificates (UCs) of the work done by different departments to whom the funds were allocated to cope up with disasters. The UCs should be obtained as soon as possible so that the government should know that the money distributed for relief or restoration has been utilized for the purpose given for. “The departments should not consider relief funds as additionality to their Budget and submit the UCs soon” he directed. Shri Virbhadra Singh said that a dedicated multidisciplinary team should be constituted without much delay for mitigating disasters in the State. He stressed for identifying the type of members from different departments who would be members of the units to be formed under SDRF. He conveyed his annoyance for delay in constituting State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). He said that it was necessary to have own SDRF on the pattern of other states or on the pattern of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and directed to complete all formalities within three months and constitute SDRF. He said that the vulnerability assessment of temples, overcrowded places and river basins should be carried out for better preparedness and response to mitigate the impact of disasters. The Chief Minister issued directions to the PWD department to regularly inspect the fences and the barbed wires along the river beds. He said that it was observed that those involved in illegal mining, had broken the fences at many places which needs to be repaired. For this the PWD should be vigilant and maintain the fencings. The Chief Minister also directed the departments concerned and the Deputy Commissioners to publicize about the relief given or restoration of roads, electricity or water after disasters, landslides etc. The State Disaster Management Authority today decided to release Rs 100 crore to the worst effected districts and various departments for restoration and repair and relief operations. Meanwhile Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), Shri Tarun Shridhar briefed that a sum of Rs 2.72 crore was given as ex-gratia payment to as many as 68 persons who lost their lives due to cloud bursts/flash floods since the onset of South- West monsoons in the State. The highest toll of human lives was in Chamba district where 24 people lost their lives followed by Bilaspur where 11 were killed. He said that 652 livestock were perished and the loss on this account has been assessed as Rs 52.68 lakh. There were 2395 structures damaged out of which 1210 house were damaged either partially or fully. Shri Shridhar said that the total loss suffered by the State during the monsoons was Rs 628.86 crore. The PWD gave estimates of Rs 400 crore as loss suffered due to monsoons, water supply schemes suffered a loss of Rs 172 crore, Besides, Horticulture and Agriculture departments suffered a loss of Rs. 52 and Rs 16 crore respectively. It was also approved to enhance ex-gratia payment to the families of the grieved family members irrespective of their place of residence and nationality to Rs 4 lakh from existing Rs 1,50 lakh. . Similarly the farmers and horticulturalists would be provided the benefit even when the loss is 33 percent instead of 50 % as was the condition earlier. Shri Shridhar assured to constitute SDRF within next three months. Vice-Chairman, SDMA, Shri Rajinder Rana, Chief Secretary, Shri P. Mitra, Additional Chief Secretaries, Shri Narinder Chauhan, Shri PC Dhiman, DGP, Shri Sanjay Kumar, IG Police Shri S.P. Singh, Special Secretary SDMA, Shri D.D.Sharma, and other seni or officers of the State Government were present on the occasion.