President of the newly formed MLAs association, HP Vidhan Sabha, and MLA, Shahpur assembly segment, Kewal Singh Pathania and MLA Nahan, Ajay Solanki, have demanded declaration of ‘National Disaster’ in Himachal in the wake of the huge loss of life and property that the State has witnessed during the past 56 days due to unprecedented rains, triggering flash floods and landslides.
So far more than 330 deaths have been reported, besides 38 individuals still missing. The torrential rains created havoc triggering around 113 landslides besides flash floods, taking loss estimates to almost around Rs. 10,000 crore, they remarked.
They lamented that the State has not yet received a single penny as an additional support or special relief package. They said that out of the relief amount of Rs. 315 crore, which was pending for the last few years with the union government, a sum of Rs.189 crore has been released. Whereas, under SDRF, a total of Rs. 360 crore has been released so far. The Central Government released the first installment of Rs 180 crore in June and the second installment of Rs 180 crore in advance, which was to be received in December. If we total the advance money received as our righteous share, it can be said that the State has received an amount of Rs 549 crore so far, and that too, was the due share of the State pending with the Union government.
The MLAs, taking a jibe at the National BJP leaders said that before assembly elections, the top BJP leaders use to admit of Himachal being their ‘second home’. They went to the extent of mentioning the delicacies of Himachal in their address as, ‘Mandi ki Sepu Badi, Chamba ka Madra and Sidu’s etc. But now, when it comes to extending a helping hand towards the State in crisis when the people were suffering because of the tragedy that struck Himachal, these BJP stalwarts are tightlipped over the issue, busy in political posturing. The delay in declaring the Calamity in the State as ‘National Disaster,’ has increased the agony of the people.
The Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has been working day and night, interacting with people, sharing their grief, announcing whatever relief money is available despite financial constraints, and monitoring the relief and rescue operations on the ground is doing a commendable job. The Chief Minister met the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Home Minister, Amit Shah, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders seeking a declaration of National Disaster but the lackadaisical approach of BJP leaders has left the people of the state high and dry.
Both Pathania and Solanki remarked that even the state BJP leaders, instead co-operating in this hour of need failed to leave a positive mark. The people of the state were wise enough to understand their mischief, much ahead of Lok Sabha polls in 2024, they said. Instead, they would have accompanied the Chief Minister to Delhi, in the best interest of the State and had sought a special relief package from their central leadership.