August 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India
Central team to visit flood-hit HP areas
New Delhi, August 15
The Himachal Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, who met the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, here yesterday, said 35 persons had died, and the losses due to floods had been estimated at Rs 30 crore. About 750 animals had also perished.
The state government has already released Rs 10 crore to restore normalcy in the flood-affected areas.
While incidents of cloudburst have been reported from four places, including Baijnath, Rohru and Nahan, the floods have badly damaged the road network in the affected areas, with traffic having been suspended on NH-21 beyond Rampur.
Mr Dhumal told the minister that tribal districts of Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur had suffered extensive damage and efforts were being made to restore traffic on the national highways.
Meanwhile, Mr Ajit Singh will be the chief guest at the annual convocation of Chaudhry Sarwan Kumar Agriculture University, Palampur, in November. He will also lay the foundation stone of the Rs 30-crore Himachal Pradesh Indag Winery Project at Nagwain in Mandi in September.
Mr Dhumal said projects estimated at Rs 30 crore had been started at the Palampur agriculture university in areas of agriculture and rural development and the Centre had agreed to provide financial assistance to the university.
The Chief Minister said a plan had been drawn up to generate Rs 600 crore by doubling the production of off-season vegetables to 10 lakh tonnes by 2007. He said efforts were being made to explore the scope of annually exporting 1 lakh tonnes of peas to the Gulf countries.
Mr Dhumal said an area of 1300 hectares in Mandi, Solan and Shimla districts had been brought under organic vegetable production. The vegetables are being targeted at the markets in metropolitan cities.
He said 17 private companies had been involved in the production of high-quality vegetable seeds through contract farming and a target had been set to grow 2000 quintals of vegetable seeds during the year.
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