CM Sukhu unfurls Tricolour at Ridge in Shimla

On the state-level function of Independence Day today Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu unfurled the Tricolour at historic Ridge today.

The Chief Minister also took a salute from the contingents of State Police, Home Guards, NCC, NSS Scouts, and Guides.  Deputy Superintendent of Police Pranav Chauhan commanded the parade.

Amidst the calamity in Himachal Pradesh due to heavy rains, Independence Day programs were organized with simplicity in different parts of the state today during which no cultural programs were held.

While addressing the people on the occasion, the Chief Minister greeted the people on Independence Day and said that it was not the right time for the people of Himachal Pradesh to celebrate. 

He said that incidents of cloudbursts and land sliding have occurred in many places. He said that many houses have been buried under the debris and people were facing many problems due to the disaster.

 He said that he was distressed to see the suffering of the people. In the last 24 hours, 50 people have died in the state and more than 300 people have lost their lives after the onset of monsoon. 

He paid heartfelt tributes to all the people who have lost their lives due to incidents of cloudbursts and other natural calamities. He said that the suffering of the affected people could not be compensated with money, but the state government would provide all possible help to them in this hour of distress.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the state government is working in solidarity on a war footing to get Himachal Pradesh out of the crisis. The Chief Minister said that in view of this disaster, this year the Independence Day program is being celebrated ceremonially.

 He said that this is the biggest disaster in the last 50 years as houses and roads have crumbled at many places all across the state.

He said that 303 stranded tourists were rescued from Chandratal in Lahaul-Spiti district. Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthi accomplished this difficult mission and evacuated all the tourists safely. 

He said that the World Bank has also appreciated the efforts of the state government for the smooth running of the rescue and relief operations. He assured the horticulturists and farmers that every possible step would be taken so that their produce could be transported to markets.

The Chief Minister said that the government has provided a sufficient budget to open all the link roads up to the Panchayat level and officers have been directed to restore all the roads in a time-bound manner. He said that the state has suffered an estimated loss of more than Rs. 10,000 crore and needs financial help from the Central Government for relief and rehabilitation works. The Chief Minister hoped that soon the Centre Government would release the first installment of interim relief to the state.

The Chief Minister said that in view of the disaster during the month of July this year, the government announced a special package of relief. Earlier, in case of partial damage to the house, financial assistance of Rs. 10,000 was given, which has now been increased to one lakh rupees. He said that earlier in case of damage to dhabas and shops Rs. 10,000 were being given, which has been increased to rupees one lakh by the state government. In case of damage to the goods of the tenant, earlier Rs. 25,000 were given, which has been increased to Rs. 50,000. He said that earlier compensation of about Rs. 1400 per bigha was given in case of silting of agriculture and horticulture land, which has now been increased to Rs. 5000 per bigha. He said that Rs 3,600 per bigha was earlier given for damage to agricultural and horticultural land, which has been increased to Rs. 10,000 per bigha by the present state government.

He said that the compensation given for the death of the cow-buffalo during the disaster has been increased from Rs. 37,500 to Rs.55,000. Apart from this, the financial assistance of Rs. 4,000 for the death of sheep and goats has been increased to Rs. 6,000. He said that under the special package, the state government was spending Rs. 100 crore to provide relief to the affected people. He said that apart from this, the state government has prepared a long-term plan for disaster preparedness, on which about Rs. 800 crores would be spent so that the side effects of such disasters could be reduced in the future.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the state government has introduced the Mukhya Mantri Vidhva Avam Ekal Nari Awas Yojana for widows. Under the scheme, 7000 such women would be given assistance of Rs.1.5 lakh per woman to construct houses during this year. He said that the state government will make Himachal Pradesh a self-reliant state in the next four years and the state will become the most prosperous state of the country in the next ten years.

The Chief Minister announced to increase the honorarium given by the state government to the freedom fighters from Rs. 15,000 per month to Rs. 25,000 per month and also to increase the honorarium of widows of freedom fighters from Rs. 15,000 per month to Rs. 20,000 per month. He also announced a 50 percent increase in ex-gratia grants to the dependents of soldiers who were martyred or injured or went missing in war accidents during operations against enemy forces. He said that instead of Rs. 20 lacks, Rs. 30 lakh would be given to the dependents of martyred soldiers in war or war-like circumstances.

The Chief Minister said that instead of Rs. 5 lacks, Rs. 7.50 lakh would be given to the dependents of soldiers who lost their lives in non-operational areas or in operational areas where there is no war. He said that Rs. 3.75 lacks would be given to the soldiers who got more than 50 percent disability and Rs. 1.50 lakh to the soldiers with less than 50 percent disability during the operation.

The Chief Minister also announced to increase in the amount of financial assistance given under the Vidhva Punarvivah Yojana from Rs. 65 thousand to Rs. 2 lacks. He announced to increase the wages of MNREGA workers from Rs. 224 to Rs. 240 in general areas and from Rs. 280 to Rs. 294 in tribal areas. This would benefit 9 lakh families working under MNREGA.

The Chief Minister said that the government is committed to meeting the nutrition and health needs of pregnant women, lactating mothers, and malnourished children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years in the form of supplementary nutrition. Announcing the launch of the Indira Gandhi Matri Shishu Sankalp Yojana, the Chief Minister said that a provision of Rs. 50 crore would be made for the implementation of this scheme, in which priority would be given to the health of the child and mother in the health and nutrition programs.

He said that the orchardists suffered a lot during the disaster, which he has observed in spot visits. He announced to increase in the support price under Market Intervention Scheme for Apple, Mango, and Litchi in the year 2023. He announced to increase the support price of apples by a historic one and a half rupees from Rs. 10.50 to Rs. 12.

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