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Himachal Pradesh Requests ₹2,000 Crore Interim Relief from Centre for Rain-Related Losses

Himachal Pradesh experienced intense to exceptionally heavy rainfall in the last seven days, leading to landslides, flash floods, road blockages, and infrastructure destruction.
 
 
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Shimla Latest Updates: Himachal Pradesh's Chief Minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has appealed to the Centre for ₹2,000 crore in interim assistance. He also mentioned the need to revise the relief manual to provide higher compensation to the flood-affected individuals in the state. Following heavy rainfall, which ranged from intense to exceptionally heavy over the past week, Himachal Pradesh witnessed landslides, flash floods, road blockages, and infrastructure damage. Mr. Sukhu informed that he personally spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday to make the request for interim relief funds.

Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses amounting to ₹4,000 crore due to recent calamities, and the total damages are expected to increase as more assessments come in, stated Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. To provide relief to the affected families, Sukhu announced an initial compensation of ₹1 lakh per family, and he also emphasized the need to enhance the compensation by making revisions to the relief manual. Currently, each disaster victim receives ₹5,000 as aid according to the manual.

To aid those in distress, a disaster relief fund has been established, with government ministers, Congress MLAs, and various associations, including Indian Administrative Services and Himachal Administrative Services officers, pledging donations from their salaries. Mr. Sukhu urged BJP legislators and the general public to contribute as well.

The government has adopted a three-point strategy focused on rescue, evacuation, and restoration. A significant number of tourists, approximately 67,000 out of 75,000, have been rescued, and efforts are now concentrated on restoring infrastructure. While some tourists remain in Kasol and Tirthan Valley, they have been provided with food and essential items.

Over the past 15 days, the state government has disbursed ₹1,100 crore, including allocations to the Public Works Department, Jal Shakti Department, and State Disaster Relief Fund. Mr. Sukhu clarified that the ₹180 crore received from the Centre was part of the annual monsoon assistance and stressed the pending release of ₹315 crore from the previous year. The Chief Minister appealed to the Union government to expedite the disbursement of these funds.

Since the monsoon arrived in Himachal Pradesh on June 26, the State Emergency Response Centre has reported 108 deaths and 12 people missing. The devastating impact includes the complete destruction of 667 houses and partial damage to 1,264 houses.

In the past 24 hours, 17 deaths were recorded, including six in road accidents in Mandi and Shimla districts. These fatalities encompass both road accidents and incidents related to the heavy rainfall.

More than 860 roads in the state remain blocked, leading to the suspension of operations on 994 routes by the Himachal Road Transport Corporation. Additionally, 260 buses are currently held en route due to the road closures.

Efforts are underway to rescue stranded individuals in areas with challenging terrain and limited mobile connectivity. Police teams are focusing on these inaccessible regions to locate and assist those in need.

Certain tourists stranded in Kasol, Manikaran, and nearby areas have chosen to stay until the situation improves, as they are unwilling to leave without their vehicles. However, a landslide near Dunkhara on the Kasol-Bhuntar Road has obstructed vehicle movement, forcing some tourists to trek to reach the other side.

Acknowledging the concerns of these tourists, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu announced that the police would issue receipts allowing them to retrieve their vehicles once the roads reopen. Families of the stranded tourists are in contact with the police, providing details of hotels, vehicle numbers, photographs, and last known locations to aid in their search.

Certain parts of the state experienced light to moderate rain, prompting the local meteorological office to issue a 'yellow' alert for heavy showers in isolated areas until July 18.