PM to visit Leh to review relief work
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will arrive in Leh on Tuesday morning, following Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit on Monday, to review the relief operations and the quantum of loss in the flood-hit Ladakh district. Tarun Upadhyay reports.delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2010 01:58 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will arrive in Leh on Tuesday morning, following Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit on Monday, to review the relief operations and the quantum of loss in the flood-hit Ladakh district.
The district, part of Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed a cloudburst and severe flash floods and mudslides on August 5, leaving 197 dead so far, including six foreign tourists and 10 army personnel.
On Sunday evening, the army recovered the bodies of 10 of its missing personnel. A total of 29 personnel were missing in the area. About 400 people have been injured and treated in the civil and army hospitals.
A day before PM's visit, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited Leh, the district headquarter, and promised all possible help to the people.
Gandhi, accompanied by the Minister of State for Defence, M M Pallam Raju, visited Choglamsar, 14 km from Leh, that was first hit by the cloudburst and asked the people to voice their demands freely.
The only member of the legislature from Leh, Nawang Rigzin Jora, who is the state tourism minister, said the state government will request the PM to declare the Leh floods as a national calamity.
He said the extent of loss of property and lives was still being worked out and the state had received only Rs 9 crore so far as relief.
The immediate priority of the district administration is to replenish essential commodities, including diesel and LPG cylinders, as the area will remain cut-off from the rest of the country from October to May due to heavy snowfall on the national highways.
The government also needs funds and manpower to reconstruct nearly 1,000 buildings -most of them are not even insured - in the next two months.
The Leh-Manali and Leh-Srinagar highways, meanwhile, have been opened for heavy vehicles.