A delegation of the Himachal Pradesh Committee of the Communist Party of India Marxist met the Hon’ble Governor of Himachal Pradesh and handed over a memorandum regarding the horrific disaster in the State. Rakesh Singha, Dr. Kuldeep Tanwar, Sanjay Chauhan, Vijender Mehra, Jagat Ram, Falma Chauhan and Sunil Vashisht were included in the delegation. The delegation requested His Excellency the Governor to take up the matter with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in an appropriate manner, as this disaster is the worst natural disaster since independence.
CPIM State Secretariat Member Rakesh Singha has said that Himachal Pradesh has lost 337 precious lives and many are missing, many of whom are dead whose only bodies are yet to be recovered. About 2,000 houses have been completely destroyed and 11,000 have suffered partial damage. There has been heavy loss of cattle, buffaloes, sheep etc. Agricultural and horticultural land as well as crops, state property other than hydropower projects, power transmission lines, all kinds of government buildings including schools and health institutions, drinking water and irrigation schemes, roads, bridges, etc. have been affected across the state The state government’s loss is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore, which is very low by all estimates. A large number of farmers have been left without houses and agricultural land as their land has either been completely destroyed, washed away, eroded or destroyed due to cloud bursts, floods or soil erosion and is no longer in the form in which it existed before the natural calamity. Nine lakh farmer families have suffered damage ranging from 5% to 100% to agricultural land and other sources of livelihood, completely eliminating their means of livelihood. Many villages and settlements have been completely destroyed. Without the active participation of the state and central government, it is difficult for the farmers to restore the lost property back to its original condition. This continuing natural disaster, the Himalayan Tsunami qualifies for all the parameters of a National Disaster. It can be declared by the Government of India on the same basis as it happened in the state of Uttarakhand in the year 2013 and Andhra Pradesh state in 2014 or any other state where national calamity was declared for similar devastation.
He said that a large number of people have lost their livelihood due to this calamity, so both the Central and State Governments should come forward to help them, otherwise suicides may also take place in the State to escape the pain of this natural calamity. In the year 2000, during the tenure of the then state government, the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly brought an amendment in the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act 1954 by introducing Section 163 (A), in which one lakh 67 thousand farmers were considered as the owners of the encroached forest land. All such farmers, whose own revenue land does not exceed 5 bighas and total land does not exceed 10 bighas and have built their own houses and grown fruit trees of any kind, shall be entitled to the relief manual for destruction of houses or any order made by the Government. should also be covered for relief under the notification. The Hon’ble Himachal Pradesh High Court has also passed an interim order on similar lines, without commenting whether such order amounts to a legal or illegal order or not. In such circumstances, the central government should issue an ordinance to amend the Forest Conservation Act 1980 to allow it to be legalised.
He said that the people of Himachal Pradesh have made the supreme sacrifice for the nation by sacrificing their forest wealth, a major revenue source for the State under the Forest Conservation Act 1980 along with hundreds of martyrdoms on the Indian border. Under such adverse circumstances, the state’s revenue crisis and the only assistance received from the Central Government is only Rs 200 crore as advance of NDFR and Rs 180 crore of SDRF. In such adverse financial circumstances, either the norms of NDRF should be changed as one-time relief to Himachal Pradesh and the full amount of actual loss suffered by the State or a relief package of the amount of actual loss suffered by the State, which would be ten thousand crore rupees.