August 25, 2000,
Central team for 189 cr aid to HP
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 — While recommending a special assistance of Rs 189 crore to Himachal Pradesh, the Central team that toured flood-affected areas of the state has said ascertaining the cause of floods was of “utmost importance” besides considering a treaty with China for early a flood warning system.
The team also called for restoration of the old Hindustan Tibet road to provide an alternative to National Highway 22.
The state government had in its first memorandum to the Agriculture Ministry demanded Rs 1,344 crore from the Centre for the damage caused by the Sutlej floodwaters. However, it later scaled down its demand to Rs 500 crore. The Central team toured the affected areas on August 7 and 8 after the floods on August 1 ravaged large areas in Kinnaur and Shimla districts.
The state memorandum had sought compensation for the likely loss in revenue due to delay in the commissioning of the NJPC. The demand had not found favour with the Centre.
The Central team, while referring to certain gaps in assessment of loss in the state’s memorandum, has recommended Rs 189 crore as special assistance over and above the Calamity Relief Fund amount of Rs 43.49 crore. A team headed by the Agriculture Secretary will now examine the report before a final decision is taken on the relief quantum. The whole process, may take a month.
While pointing at the need of ascertaining the cause of the floods in the Sutlej, the Central team called for obtaining the necessary data from the Government of China and entering a treaty on a flood warning system.
The team said the proposal for restoration of the Hindustan-Tibet road deserved serious consideration to upgrade the present took. This, it said, could be done with manageable investment. Apart from defence benefits, it would be an alternative to the vulnerable National Highway 22. The highway’s stretch from Khab to Wangtu was badly damaged in the floods.
The team also emphasised the need for stocking 80,000 quintals of supplies in the affected areas of Shimla and Kinnaur by November. The Central team suggested to the state government to dovetail resources under various programmes including the JRY, the ERS, the Indira Awas Yogna and employment-oriented schemes.
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