To help the families affected by the incessant rains in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has opened the State coffers and announced a special relief package, under which the compensation amount has been increased by up to 25 times. The state government is spending a total of Rs. 4500 crore to deal with the disaster, out of which Rs. 750 crore will be spent for restoration and rehabilitation and Rs 1000 crore for MNREGA.While addressing a press conference here today, the Chief Minister said that the compensation of Rs. 1.30 lakh for a completely damaged house has been increased five and a half times to Rs. 7 lakh.
About 3500 houses have been completely damaged due to the disaster in the state. Apart from this, the compensation of Rs. 4,000 for partial damage to a 'kutcha' house has been increased by 25 times to rupees one lakh, while the compensation for partial damage to a 'pucca' house has been increased 15 and a half times, from Rs 6500 to rupees one lakh. He said that 6930 kutcha houses and 5549 pucca houses have been partially damaged in the state.The Chief Minister said that the compensation of Rs. 25,000 given in case of damage to a shop or dhaba has also been increased four times to rupees one lakh.
The state government will provide increased financial assistance of Rs. 50 thousand instead of Rs. 3000 for damage to the cowshed. He said that due to the disaster 670 shops and dhabas as well as 8300 cow sheds have been damaged in the state.The Chief Minister said that the state government will provide an assistance of Rs. 50 thousand for damage or loss to the belongings of the tenants thereby marking 20 times increase, from existing Rs. 2500. The number of such affected people is 1909.He said that the compensation for loss of cattle head has also been increased in the relief manual to Rs 55 thousand per head. In the monsoon fury,96 cows and buffaloes, 16 horses and donkeys and 6 calves have died, Earlier, they used to get Rs. 37500, Rs. 34000 and Rs. 20000 respectively for the death of cattle head as above.
The earlier compensation of Rs. 4000 for the death of a sheep or goat has also been enhanced to Rs. 6000.The Chief Minister said that the agriculture and horticulture sector has also suffered huge damage in the disaster. He said that the earlier compensation of Rs. 3615 per bigha for damage to agricultural and horticultural land has been increased to Rs. 10 thousand. The compensation on crop loss of Rs. 500 per bigha has also been increased eight times to Rs. 4000.
The financial assistance for removing silt from agricultural and horticultural land has also been increased from Rs. 1384.61 per bigha to Rs. 5000. He said that due to the devastation caused by the disaster, 37899 bighas of agricultural land, 17947 bighas of horticulture land in Himachal have been damaged while crops on 26490 bighas have also been damaged. Apart from this, agricultural and horticultural land in 42 bighas has been damaged due to silt.
Sh. Sukhu said that the state government would provide two biswa of land in urban areas and three biswa in rural areas for the reconstruction of houses completely damaged by the disaster. Under the special package, such families will also be eligible, whose land is no longer habitable. Apart from this there will be no income ceiling for distribution of relief. The landless disaster affected persons, who have been living in Himachal Pradesh for over a long period of time and so desire to live in Himachal permanently, will also be provided land under the package.
He said that for the rehabilitation of disaster hit low income group sanitation workers or migrant labourers whose houses have been completely damaged within the municipal limits of the State will also be rehabilitated. The concerned District Magistrate will select suitable land and rehabilitate them with the help of the concerned Municipal Corporation.The Chief Minister said that the state government will also bear the cost of providing electricity and water connections to the under construction houses of those affected families whose houses have been completely destroyed. He added that cement will also be provided to these families at government rates to build new houses.
The damage caused by the natural disaster in the country had adverse effects on the education of the children as well. Keeping in view the safety of the children during the heavy rains, the educational institutions however remained closed for a few days, while a few other children couldn't go school because of the disaster. He said that additional classes will be organised to make up for the loss in studies due to the closure of such educational institutions.The Chief Minister said all possible assistance was being provided to the disaster affected since the beginning.
A relief amount of Rs. 750 crore has been released to the districts under the NDRF and the SDRF to help the disaster affected people and to restore essential services. He said that the government has so far released Rs. 829 crore to the Public Works and Jal Shakti departments for reconstruction and restoration of various projects. Apart from this, Rs. 671 crore will soon be released to these departments for speeding up of reconstruction and restoration works.Sh. Sukhu said the disaster affected families living in relief camps can move to rented accommodations and the state government will provide Rs. 5000 as rent payment for the disaster-hit in rural areas and Rs. 10000 as rent in urban areas for the next 6 months from its own resources. Apart from this, LPG cylinder, 20kg flour, 15kg rice, 3kg pulses, 2kg sugar and 2 liters of oil will also be provided free of cost to these families till March 31, 2024.
The Chief Minister added that works related to retaining walls and channelization of drains for the houses of disaster affected families could be done under the MLA Area Development Fund. Under this fund, a provision of Rs 2 crore 10 lakh has been made for each assembly constituency in the current fiscal. He said that whatever unspent amount available Sectoral decentralized planning programme in all the districts till March 31, 2023, could now be spent for the construction of retaining walls and channelization of drains for houses of the affected.
As per the guidelines issued by the government on July 12, 2023, it has been decided that the properties damaged in rural areas due to the natural disaster, will be provided assistance under MNREGA. After the approval of all such works by the Deputy Commissioner and District Program Coordinator (MNREGA), an amount of Rs. 1 lakh will be provided to individual beneficiaries for individual works related to land development as per MNREGA guidelines. He added that so far 1,40,521 works have been approved and an estimated Rs 1085.05 crore will be spent on them.
He added that the state government has declared the entire Himachal Pradesh as a Natural Disaster Affected Area on August 18, 2023. He said that the loans of the borrowers are being rescheduled to provide relief to the families whose livelihood has been affected. Instructions have been issued to all banks in the state to provide relief through rescheduling loans. Types of existing loans include loans for shop, MSME, retail and other loans (except advances for agriculture and allied activities).