Unity in times of crisis: Donations reaching more than Rs. 16 Cr under ARK-2023

In the early days of July, as the nation grappled with a series of devastating natural calamities, few regions suffered as severely as Himachal Pradesh. Due to its rugged topography, the hills of Himachal bore the brunt of nature’s harshest blows. Yet, in the face of this crisis, both the residents and the State Government exemplified the very essence of the state’s guiding principle, ‘Athiti Devo Bhava’—where guests are treated as gods. Renowned for their warm hospitality, the people of Himachal Pradesh and the Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu himself took on the immense responsibility of ensuring the safety and well-being of numerous tourists and citizens alike. In these challenging moments, they demonstrated remarkable dedication and selflessness, embodying the true spirit of their beloved state.

The State faced numerous challenges as it grappled with the aftermath of natural disasters, including cloud bursts, floods, and landslides-some of the most severe in decades. The impact of these calamities left Himachal Pradesh reeling from immense devastation, testing both the resilience of its people and the efficiency of its governance. However, the government rose to the occasion, tirelessly working to evacuate and rescue stranded individuals across multiple districts, with Chief Minister overseeing the rescue operations in the flood-torn areas along with his Cabinet colleagues and the State machinery.

 The overwhelming response of support, both from the people and State Government exemplified the profound solidarity among its residents. To further enhance their disaster management efforts, the government established the Himachal Pradesh Aapada Raahat Kosh (ARK)-2023, demonstrating remarkable foresight in adopting a sustainable approach to restoration and recovery and focusing on repairing the damages caused by heavy monsoon rains, which disrupted essential services and ravaged vast areas including habitations. 

Since its launch on 16th July 2023, ARK-2023 has garnered substantial contributions, with donations reaching around Rs. 16.50 crore as on 22st July 2023. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has accorded a sanction of Rs.188.50 crores to all Deputy Commissioners. Besides, the collective efforts and unwavering generosity have made a significant difference in alleviating the hardships caused by the calamities, showcasing the power of compassion and unity in times of crisis.

After assessing the initial losses of around Rs. 8000 crore, the State was now working on providing relief packages. Earlier the Chief Minister also announced to give rupees one lakh each as an immediate assistance to those impacted by the nature’s fury. The State Government has also enhanced the relief money so as to provide a respectable amount to the sufferers, may it be loss of the human life, property etc. and all other subheads falling under the relief category have been increased manifold.

In view of this unprecedented tragedy, the government has notified special norms in the shape of relief package by increasing compensation for damaged houses (both Kucha and Pucca) and shops to one lakhs rupees. Similarly, as earlier Rs. 10,000 was given in lieu of loss of goods, which the state government has increased ten times to rupees one lakh and similar increases in other areas.

Despite facing several hurdles, the people of the state exhibited exceptional bravery and kindness. The overwhelming response of support, coupled with significant contributions to relief efforts, exemplifies the strength of solidarity during times of crisis. Himachal Pradesh’s journey serves as a poignant reminder that compassion can help communities endure and rebuild even in the face of nature’s harshest blows.

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