HP CM seeks special package from centre for calamity-hit state

Shimla, Aug 20 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Thakur Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Sunday sought a special relief package from the centre to help the state tide over the heavy losses caused by the monsoon fury.

Sukhu, who had a detailed discussion with BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur regarding the calamity here, presented detailed information about the devastation and appealed for financial assistance on the lines of Kedarnath and Bhuj tragedies to strengthen the efforts of the state government to bring back normalcy in the state.

Underlining the huge damage caused by the calamity, the Chief Minister said there was extensive damage to public and private property.

He said that the financial provision as per the existing relief rules of the Central Government was insufficient to meet the losses in Himachal Pradesh and sought a special relief package keeping in view of the geographical conditions of the state and the gravity of the calamity.

Sukhu also raised the issue of the delayed release of the first installment of interim relief by the Central Government. He urged Nadda and Thakur to expedite the process of providing financial assistance.

He said the state has suffered a loss of more than Rs 10,000 crore due to the natural calamity triggered by heavy rains and landslides during monsoon.

He said the interim relief is still pending despite the Central Government sending assessment teams. The Chief Minister said his government was using its limited resources to provide assistance to the affected.

The Chief Minister said Rs 360 crore has been released by the Central Government under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). The money would be received in two annual installments.

He said that as a result of the efforts of his government to remove the audit objections, the Central Government has released Rs 189 crore out of the pending Rs 315 crore. He urged the centre to provide the remaining Rs 126 crore at the earliest.

The Chief Minister said the state government has claimed Rs 6,700 crore by sending a detailed report of the damage caused in the state to the central government.

Sukhu also detailed his government’s efforts in structural engineering and improvement and strengthening of drainage systems.

He also furnished details about a plan to establish a new town at Jathia Devi near Shimla.

Nadda said the Central Government was committed to provide adequate assistance to the state and assured that efforts would be made to release the first installment of interim relief at the earliest.

He reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to extend full cooperation to the state in this hour of crisis.

Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur also expressed their views during the meeting.

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