Indian National Congress General Secretary, Priyanka Gandhi along with Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today visited the calamity hit areas of the Kullu district and interacted with the disaster affected people. Both the leaders visited Sangam Bridge on the confluence of River Parvati and Beas at Bhuntar and at Potato ground at Manali, the areas badly devastated by the fury of floods triggered by torrential rains.
The people narrated their woes with the INC General Secretary and lauded the efforts of the State Government in providing timely relief to the affected, besides the personal efforts of the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues, who monitored the relief and rescue operations on the spot day and night.
Priyanka Gandhi, while interacting with the media at Manali, lauded the efforts of the people of the State who had come forward in this hour of distress by voluntarily contributing towards the Aapda Rahat Kosh to help the affected population. She said that the people of Himachal have set an example for the Nation by uniting and coming to the forefront to help the affected families. She also lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues who were on the spot for more than three days monitoring the relief and rescue operations.
She said that though the State Government was doing far beyond from its limited resources to provide succour to the affected families, however, without the assistance of the Union Government it was rather difficult to bring normalcy and renovation works besides providing aid to the people.
She said that during such difficult times, the Central Government should not discriminate between the States on party lines. It becomes the duty of the Union Government to provide aid in such circumstances, analyzing the impact of the disaster. She said that the Center should declare such a massive catastrophe as a ‘National Disaster’ and should immediately come forward for the help of the affected.
Even the farmers and horticulturalists of the State have suffered enormous losses and the Centre should pay heed towards their plight as well. Some big industrial houses, dealing in fruit marketing, have reduced the price of the apple crop thereby causing losses to the horticulturalists. The centre has also reduced the import duty on the Washington apple, which will also directly affect the horticulturalists of the State, thereby causing losses to them. The Central leadership should also think about the benefits of the farmers and horticulturalists of the State.
The Chief Minister said that during his recent visit to Delhi, he met the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at the dinner hosted by the President for the members of G-20 Nations and detailed Sh. Modi about the damages caused. “I again urged the Prime Minister to declare the calamity as a National Disaster”, said Sh. Sukhu. He said even the Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari has personally monitored the flood hit regions and today the INC general secretary has herself witnessed the colossal damages caused by the unprecedented rains triggering floods and landslides in Himachal.
The Chief Minister said that the State Government has sent the claims of the damages to the tune of Rs. 8000 crore till 10th August, 2023 and thereafter between 10th to 14th August 2023, the second spell of heavy rains also caused enormous damages taking the losses to around 12000 crore. The Chief Minister said that without a second thought, the Centre Government should voluntarily extend the financial support for the people of the State.
The Chief Minister said that the State Government has taken a decision to pay for the rented accommodation for those who were staying in relief camps so as to lessen their sufferings.
The Kullu Fruit Growers Mandal, Katrain, also presented a cheque of rupees five lakh to the Chief Minister towards the Aapda Rahat Kosh.
Also present on the occasion were Congress party in-charge, Himachal Pradesh, Rajiv Shukla, State HPCC President, Pratibha Singh, PWD Minister, Vikramaditya Singh, CPS, Sunder Singh Thakur, MLAs, Bhubneshwar Gaur and Ravi Thakur, Political advisor to Chief Minister, Sunil Sharma amongst senior officers of the district.