Himachal Pradesh continues to suffer the invaluable loss of life and property along major rivers in the state due to changing of their courses due to flood and rising water levels. The Government was caught unprepared for the catastrophe and its councils of ministers after the tragedy made controversial statements criticizing each on other in the blame game.
Chief Minister Sukhivinder Singh Sukhu seemed to be hurt by a public spat between Public Works Department Minister Vikramaditya Singh and Minister of Industry Harashvardhan Chauhan today convened a TCP meeting to emphasize the problem of the devastation being caused by the flood and rising water level and wreaking of havoc as infrastructures including four lanes tunes to Rs 2000 Crore either washed or damaged recently. It is worthwhile to mention here that by putting Mr. Chauhan in the dock, Mr. Vikramditya Singh told the media person about the tragedy that it is man-made and caused by relentless illegal mining on the Beas and Satluj Rivers. After the public spat between the member of the Sukh cabinet on the issue now government seemed to be in the mood of damage control and in face-saving mode.
Mr. Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Tuesday convened a meeting of Town and Country Planning to discuss the issue of haphazard construction along the river banks with a motive to keep scanners on this so that such eventualities did not occur again. According to sources during the meeting it was proposed to regulate the construction or completely ban such construction on either side of rivers in the future to avert the mishaps.
The river catchment areas of Beas, Yumana, and Satluj are more vulnerable to such changes in the flow of water, and in the plain like Swana River, the course river may shift three to four kilometers with changing time. The government has to take drastic decisions as it is better late than never. Sources said that government appears to be quite serious about regularizing riverside construction norms. It has learned a lesson after paying a very high price and the government is considering imposing a ban to a considerable width on either side of the river bed.
A haphazard and unscientific construction on the riverside has claimed many lives besides the heavy loss of property during the recent unprecedented rains. The meeting was convened by the Chief Minister of Town and Country Planning officials to make a plan to regularize the construction. on either side of the river bed by imposing restrictions on construction up to scientifically safe distances. The planners consider that this move certainly restrains future loss of life and property due to flooding in rivers.
There are many townships on the banks of the major rivers including Rampur, Neogli, Sunni, Bilaspur, Manali, Mandi, Kullu, Bhuntar, etc which may be covered under the restrictions and new types of planning areas may be proposed the future if the Government would able to move the thing ahead beyond it meeting and consultations however there are dire needs to address the issue as the quick fix solution did not address the natural devastation which is related to lives of people and property. The state government spokesperson confirmed that TCP discuss the issue but did not release official detail of what decision has been taken. The Meeting might bring some clarity over the different points of view of the council of ministers on how such devastation being occurred as the Chief Minister who visited the ground zero for three days may have some clarity on the issue.