Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu visited Lalpani, Shimla late Tuesday evening to take stock of the damages caused by the tragic incident of landslides and instructed the district administration to accelerate relief and rescue operations.
While interacting with media, he said that the timely response of the district administration has reduced the damages significantly as persons living in these houses had already been evacuated due to the impending danger.
The Chief Minister said that over 60 lives were lost on Monday due to heavy rains throughout the state, with the potential for that number to rise. The impact was most severe in Shimla, while farmers in Fatehpur, Kangra, suffered crop losses without any casualties. A rescue operation ensured after approximately 300 individuals were trapped due to the release of water from Pong Dam and fortunately, all were successfully rescued. The Mandi district also faced substantial damage due to the continuous heavy rainfall, he said.
Emphasizing the need to fortify urban drainage systems, the Chief Minister said that proper water management was important to prevent hill destabilization. The State Government was poised to develop a comprehensive plan to bolster drainage systems and integrate sound structural design principles for construction, he added.
In addition to these measures, the State Government was preparing a comprehensive, long-term disaster preparedness plan, earmarking around Rs. 800 crore for its implementation, which was aimed at mitigating the impact of future disasters and enhancing the state’s resilience, said Sh. Sukhu.
In response to the ongoing disaster, the Chief Minister expressed disappointment in the Leader of Opposition, Jai Ram Thakur, for engaging in political maneuvers during this critical time. He said that the State Government was focusing firmly on relief and rescue operations and questioned the appropriateness of demanding a special session of the Vidhan Sabha at this juncture. He assured that the State Government was committed to holding a 10-day session and he was even reducing his own security cover to ensure that sufficient police personnel were available for disaster response efforts. He asked the opposition to prioritize the pressing needs of the hour rather than engaging in political posturing.
Principal Advisor (Media) to the Chief Minister Naresh Chauhan, OSD Ritesh Kapret, Mayor MC Shimla, Surender Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner Aditya Negi and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.