Shimla, September 30
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Saturday announced a special package of Rs 4,500 crore, including Rs 1,000 crore under MGNREGA, to aid people affected by rain-related disasters during the July 7 to September 30 period.
Of the total package, Rs 3,500 crore is for disaster-affected people and Rs 1,000 crore is to be used under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for the construction of retaining walls, he told reporters.
Sukhu said aid from the special package will be given irrespective of income limit to all affected people whose houses, agricultural or any other types of land or crops have been damaged.
The chief minister said 3,500 houses were completely destroyed and 13,000 partially damaged during the period and that his government has so far spent Rs 1,850 crore from its own funds for temporary restoration of services and Rs 1,051 crore would be released soon.
Relief to people whose houses have been completely destroyed has been increased by the state government to Rs 7 lakh, irrespective of whether they were kutcha or pucca houses, he said, adding that free electricity and water connections are also being provided in addition to cement at government rates.
The relief for partially damaged houses has been increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 1 lakh, shops and dhabas from Rs 6,500 to Rs 1 lakh and for cowsheds from Rs 3,000 to Rs 50,000, the chief minister told news persons.
Aid for loss of agriculture and horticulture crops has been increased from Rs 3,615 per hectare (12.5 bigha) to Rs 10,000 per Bigha, he said.
People whose lands have been washed away or rendered unfit for construction will be allotted 135 square yards of land in rural areas and 90 square yards in urban areas, Sukhu said, adding that people whose belongings have been completely destroyed would get Rs 50,000 as relief instead of Rs 2,500.
The chief minister also accused the BJP in Himachal Pradesh of playing politics during the calamity. He said the party did not support the government resolution seeking to declare the calamity as a national disaster and announce a special relief package of Rs 12,000 crore.
Sukhu added that except for funds under disaster management, no additional relief from the Centre has been received so far.
The Himachal chief minister said his government had announced special packages to disaster-hit people on its own in spite of a financial crunch.
On August 18, the chief minister declared the massive damage caused by heavy rains as a state calamity.
The Himachal Pradesh assembly on September 20 adopted a resolution by voice vote, urging the Union government to declare the recent calamity in the state as a national disaster and announce a special relief package of Rs 12,000 crore.
More than 290 people died in rain-related incidents since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, and as many as 168 landslides and 72 flash flood incidents were reported.
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