Shimla, September 19
Independent MLA from Dehra, Hoshyar Singh, on Tuesday made a strong plea for shifting the capital from Shimla arguing the city was too fragile to withstand vagaries of nature and will lie in ruin if an earthquake hits it.
Participating in the debate on a resolution to urge the Centre to declare state floods a national disaster, Hoshyar Singh said, “Is Shimla safe? No it is not. Think about smart capital and shift all the government offices out of Shimla.” “Nothing would be left in Shimla if an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 to 6.5 rocks the state capital," he said, as he called for the framing of a policy to ensure that all buildings, both public and private, are mandatorily insured.
The legislator also called for training of the reserve force in the state to deal with disasters and evacuations.
Hoshyar Singh said that old trees were responsible for large share of destruction in Shimla and called for their cutting down.
He also blamed vertical cutting of hills for road damage.
The Congress government and BJP in opposition should jointly urge the Centre to waive Rs 50,000 crore of the Rs 75,000 crore state debt as they both raised this money during previous terms, he said.
Members of the both parties raised slogans in the assembly house when Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sunder Singh gave figures of assistance UPA government given to Gujarat and Uttarakhand during Bhuj and Kedarnath tragedies and claimed no such help was extended to the state by the BJP-led Centre.
Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur alleged that Congress came to power by making false promises and the chief minister has ruined the state.
Randhir Sharma from BJP called for a geological survey before the reconstruction work is taken up.
He suggested replacing old trees with fresh plantations, dealing sternly with illegal dumping in rivers, promoting scientific mining, and imposing a ban on blasting and vertical cutting of hills to save money on land acquisition.
Questioning the seriousness of the government towards disaster management, Sharma said that no all-party meeting was held after the disaster struck the state and even the cabinet meeting was held after 10 days.
The cabinet ministers are not working in tandem and the chief minister, deputy chief minister, and public works minister are vying with each other to score points, he alleged.
Conflicting statements have come from Congress leaders with PWD minister saying that mining was responsible for the disaster, while Industry Minister Harshwardhan Chauhan dismissing his remark saying he did not know anything about mining.
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Ram Kumar went a step further stating that mining saved his Doon assembly constituency.
Randhir Sharma said the government's offer of Rs 1 lakh for those whose houses were partially damaged and Rs 1.30 lakh for those with fully damaged houses was not adequate and demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the latter.
Intervening in the debate, the Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said Sharma should write a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard and help government get central funds.
The CM also said the government is considering diverting funds from others heads in the budget to help families affected by the floods.
Sukhu claimed it was due to his ministers' working round-the-clock that the state was able to restore electricity, water supply, telecom and other services temporarily within 48 hours of the first floods.
Supporting the resolution, Congress MLAs Kuldeep Rathore and Mohan Lal Brakta said all elected representatives including MLAs and MPs should meet the PM and request him to declare the calamity in the state as national disaster.
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