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Inter-ministerial central team reaches Himachal to assess damages due to rains

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 4, 2019  | 21:41 IST

Shimla, Sep 4 (PTI) An inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) constituted by the Union Home Ministry visited Himachal Pradesh's Kangra and Chamba districts on Wednesday to assess the damage caused due to heavy rain. On day one of its four-day visit to the hill state, the seven-member IMCT visited landslide-hit Danni Panchayat in Kangra district and Lahdu village in Chamba district, Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Prajapati said. "An artificial reservoir has been created in Danni Panchayat after massive landslides last month. Several houses and agricultural land was damaged due to landslides which are still occurring. Funds are required to rehabilitate the villagers," Prajapati told PTI. Later in a meeting with IMCT in Nurpur tehsil, Kangra district presented an initial proposal of requirement of Rs 115 crore for rehabilitation and restoration of various projects damaged during the August 16 to 18 downpour, the DC added. Prajapati had already instructed all the district heads of various departments to attend the meeting with the complete data of loss and damage. The meeting was scheduled to be held at 3.30 pm and continued till 8.05 pm, the DC added. According to preliminary report prepared by the Himachal Pradesh government, 79 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents and the state suffered a loss of Rs 1,138 crore during the monsoon season. At least 25 people died from August 16 to 18. Earlier, the IMCT had reached Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur district at around 11.15 am, said Bipul Kumar Srivastava who is a member of the team and the director of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. The other officials are Home Ministry Joint Secretary Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, Finance Ministry's Department of Expenditure Director Thanglemlian, Water Resources Ministry Director OP Gupta, Superintendent Engineer-cum-Regional Officer in Road Transport and Highways Ministry Vipnesh Sharma, Under Secretary in Ministry of Rural Development Shailendra Kumar and Director in Power Ministry Sunil Jain. Talking to PTI on the phone, Srivastava said the team would visit various areas during its visit to assess the situation in the aftermath of recent cloudbursts, flash floods and landslides. The central team is also scheduled to hold a meeting with state-level officials at Peterhoff in Shimla on Friday. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on August 31 had informed the state assembly during recently concluded monsoon session that financial help would be sought from the Centre to undertake relief and restoration works on account of Rs 1,138 crore loss suffered by the state. Himachal Pradesh will place before the Centre a complete memorandum of losses so that it could be adequately compensated to undertake the restoration work, he had said. Meanwhile, a state official said, "The central team is visiting Himachal Pradesh under new rules of the Union Home Ministry." As per the new rules, the visit of the inter-ministerial team to the affected areas will take place to assess the damage even before receiving a memorandum for a detailed assessment from the state concerned, he added. The IMCT will be constituted immediately in the aftermath of any natural calamity of severe nature and will visit the affected state to assess first-hand the damage caused and the relief work carried out by the administration. The central team will again visit the state concerned after the submission of the memorandum for a detailed assessment to make the final recommendation for the allocation of additional funds, he added. In line with the new rules, various central teams are visiting Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Bihar, Uttrakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. Earlier, the inter-ministerial central team visited the affected state only after the receipt of the memorandum. The Centre had recently released Rs 64.49 crore to Himachal Pradesh under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for losses incurred due to avalanches and hailstorm during the 2018-19 winter, the official said. PTI DJI PTI RHL

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