Centre should declare Himachal rain disaster national calamity: Priyanka Gandhi

Shimla, Sep 12 (UNI) AICC general Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said the Union Government should declare the Himachal Pradesh rain disaster as a national calamity and refrain from “discriminating” against Congress-ruled states.

Gandhi was on a visit to the rain-affected parts of Kullu, Manali and Mandi districts during the day.

Priyanka said she interacted with the people and found that the state was unable to compensate with its own resources the losses caused by the recent rain tragedy and the Union Government should immediately announce it a National Disaster. Vadra said the magnitude of the rain effect was so profound that the state’s resources would fall short.

Alleging that the apple growers are being discriminated against by the central government, she pointed out that the Modi-led dispensation has reduced import duty on the US apple from 35 per cent to 15 percent “against the interest of lakhs of apple growers in Himachal Pradesh:.

She said a number of apple growers were also concerned at the “anti-farmer” decision of the centre as corporate houses were buying the fruit in the open market in the state and trying to dictate the rates by cutting the prices of apple boxes.

She hailed the people of the state for coming forward and generously contributing to the state calamity relief and ‘Apada Kosh’, though that was not enough to deal with the quantum of losses in the absence of the centre’s generous support.

Himachal Chief Minister S S Sukhu said during his recent meeting with Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 dinner, he also flagged the issue.

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