Virbhadra Singh urged GoI for assessing loss on account of vulnerability of State to Disasters
INVC NEWS Shimla, Strongly presenting the case of relief to the State on account of loss of human lives and both public and private property during the monsoon in last august and the ongoing long winter period, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in a meeting with Union Health Minister Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda and Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh here today, advocated and suggested for assessing the loss to the States on the basis of vulnerability to disasters of a particular State rather than disbursing the central assistance by taking into consideration the population and the geographical area. He said that the hilly states have a similar topography and terrain and such states were more vulnerable to natural disasters. He thanked the Union Government for releasing Rs. 63 crores to the State and urged for immediate release of the remaining amount. The Chief Minister said that the State had experienced torrential rains and experienced heavy snowfall during the winter season intermittently from August 2014 till date and heavy hailstorms lashed the State only yesterday which was never seen before. Similarly, in March the State witnessed hailstorms as many as four times which caused lots of damage to the standing crops and fruit bearing trees, adding that around 88 thousand hectares area for both Rabi and Kharif crops was affected. A total loss of Rs 30.04 crore has been estimated in case of agricultural crops and damage to horticulture crops was around to the tune of Rs 18 crore. Apart from this it was the roads and bridges which were damaged beyond repair, he said. As many as 890 roads and 40 bridges were worst damaged and around 4647 Irrigation and water supply schemes were affected. Besides, 360 kilometers of Transmission line, 381 transformers and 11 electric sub stations were in the list of the infrastructural property which suffered massive damage of around 55.84 crore, he added. Apart from this, 61 human lives were lost and around 964 animals were perished and many houses were damaged. The Chief Minister stated that the State revenue agencies assessed the loss to the tune of Rs 832.67 crores during the last eight months due to natural calamities and had submitted the memorandum of damages to the Union Government adding that the central team had visited Himachal in November 2014 and sanctioned a sum of Rs 170 crore for damages and Rs. nine crore for rural drinking water supply schemes out of which the State Government had received only Rs 63 crore. Speaking on the occasion, Union Health Minister Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda assured full support of the Government of India on account of loss suffered by the State due to natural calamity. He said that the unpredictable weather condition prevailing in the State due to western disturbances, had taken the people by surprise to face the situation arising out of heavy rains and snow. The matter pertaining to the loss suffered by the State on account of natural calamity was also discussed in the Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister had directed all the Ministers to visit all such areas in the State and get the final loss estimates so that immediate relief be given to the States which have suffered huge losses in terms of life and property. “I well understand the topography of hill States and I believe that Himachal Pradesh needs a special attention as far as relief is concerned and I assure that the matter will be strongly and well placed before the Union Government” he said. He said that he will go along with Virbhadra Singh on the issue pertaining to financial assistance to be given on the basis of vulnerability of State to disasters and he will also suggest the loss assessing committees at the centre to incorporate the clause while preparing the Disaster Relief Funds to be given to the States. Shri Nadda also lauded the standard of administration in the State. Minister of Agriculture GoI, Shri Radha Mohan Singh also assured that the plea of the State would be considered strongly and also urged to send as early as possible the estimate of loss suffered by the farmers and horticulturalists of the State. “When it comes to the sufferings of the farming community we all stand united irrespective of the region and political affiliations,” he said. Shri Singh said that a sum of Rs. 63 crore had been released and the remaining amount would be soon released to the State. He assured to pursue the case and of all possible help to the State to compensate the losses. Health and Revenue Minister Shri Kaul Singh Thakur, Transport and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shri G.S.Bali, Agriculture Minister, Shri Sujan Singh Pathania, MLA Smt. Asha Kumari, Additional Chief Secretary, Shri Vineet Chaudhary, ACS, Smt. Upma Chaudhary, ACS, Shri V.C.Pharka, ACS, Shri Tarun Shridhar and other senior officers of the State Government were also present on the occasion amongst others.