Himachal effectively dealing with unprecedented tragedy: Sukhu

Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said today that the state has suffered highest-ever single day loss to the precious lives due to recent spate of heavy rains. Forty-one people have lost their lives, while 13 people were still missing as the 48-hour-long rain spell continued on Monday evening. The Chief Minister stated this while chairing an emergency meeting held in Shimla to take stock of the situation and said that, in view of this unprecedented tragedy, cultural programs will not be organized at the Independence Day function in the state. The event will be ceremonial and there will only be flag hoisting, a parade and a speech of the chief guest in the programme. He stated that local police and SDRF personnel would not participate in the parade as they will be deployed for rescue operations.

Sh. Sukhu said that the first priority of the government was to ensure that the problem being faced by the people at this hour of distress are minimised and therefore the I-Day parade has also been scaled down. This will make sure that maximum number of rescue forces is engaged in relief and rescue operations on a war footing. He said that NDRF contingent from Nalagarh has reached Shimla.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that about 1,200 roads have been affected in the state and efforts are being made to clear them for traffic as soon as possible. He assured that 600 roads would be opened by today evening and 300 roads by Tuesday. District Solan, Shimla, Mandi and Hamirpur have been worst hit by the rains. He directed the officers to extend full help to the affected and said that the trees which are posing danger to the roads and buildings should be immediately identified and the report should submitted to him by Tuesday morning. He also directed to ensure adequate water supply to the people by restoring the affected drinking water schemes at the earliest.

The Chief Minister said that incidents of frequent cloudbursts are coming to the fore across the state and directed the concerned department to study the recent trend so that the reason can be identified and dealt with accordingly.

Sh. Sukhu also took detailed information about the supply of electricity, water schemes and the condition of the roads, and issued necessary guidelines to the Deputy Commissioners of all the districts, who joined the meeting through a video conferencing.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil, Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Bharat Kheda, Principal Secretary Devesh Kumar, OSD to the Chief Minister Gopal Sharma, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister Vivek Bhatia, ADGP Satwant Atwal and other senior officers attended the meeting.

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