Himachal Seeks Rs 1000 Cr Central Relief For Rain Damages

Shimla: Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal ordered an inquiry into quality of works executed in the Swan river channelization project even as the Vidhan Sabha unanimously adopted a resolution urging the central government for special financial help to mitigate the damages caused by unprecedented rain.

Moving the resolution the chief minister put the state losses at Rs 1150 crore, adding that information about rain damage reports were still coming in and the loss to private and public property would rise.

Even as the total loss was to be put together, the state government has sought Rs 1000 crore as ad-hoc relief from the central government, said Dhumal.

Opening the discussion GS Bali, senior congress leader mentioned that damage to road infrastructure was immense as the state had not seen such heavy rains for the past 30 years.

Rikhi Ram Kaundal, BJP member held digging for laying telecom communication cables in the roads responsible for much damage to roads that could have been averted had better planning and execution been done.

Yoj Raj, congress member disputed the government figures saying that the assessment had been made without undertaking a proper field survey. He sought involvement of elected representatives both state and local to making a assessment of the damages incurred.

Congress member Kuldeep Pathania mentioned about villages in the vicinity of Ranjit Sagar Dam having become inhabitable as water logging had rendered farming lands uncultivable.

Suresh Bhardwaj, BJP member talked about damages in the capital saying that court restrictions for not permitting felling of dead trees was responsible for much of loss that could have avoided had timely action been allowed.

Mukesh Agnihotri (Congress) and Satpal Satti (BJP) brought to houses notice the damage caused by Swan river in Una district. While Agnihotri questioned the quality of some of the works of the Rs 106 crore channelization project where embankments broke down, Satti said that at other places the channelisation had helped to reduce the losses that would have occurred otherwise.

Responding to the debate that had 18 speakers participate in it, the chief minister ordered an inquiry into the works of the Swan river project where questions about violations of construction specifications were pointed out.

For the time being new road construction activity was being stopped and focus was on repairing and maintaining the existing ones and Rs 105 crore had been released for the purpose. All new road construction contracts would include construction of a drainage system with it, he said Dhumal.

He said that mining activity would be checked and NREGA program would be redirected to repair damaged roads and other infrastructure.

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