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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Flood loss Rs. 1,500 cr, HP seeks help from Centre

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  SHIMLA, June 23, 2013
First Published: 01:11 IST(23/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:24 IST(23/6/2013)

Even as the people of Kinnaur come to terms with the devastation of their beautiful district by rains, the Himachal Pradesh government has sought Rs. 1,500 crore from the Centre for the relief and restoration work in flood-ravaged areas.

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A day after chief minister Virbhadra Singh visited flood-struck areas of Kinnaur, his government on Saturday sought quick release of money from the National Disaster Relief Fund after preliminary assessment of loss. Flood has caused extensive damage to public and private property and crippled the road network, especially in Kinnaur. The impact is more on the main highway from Wangtoo to Kaza and the other lateral roads, 2,200 in all.

The road restoration may take a few months. The state government expects the Centre to direct the Border Road Organisation (BRO) to work full capacity to repair at least the national highway-22 that leads up to China border. There are reports that the BRO is short of diesel. The government has also asked for helicopters for the BRO to enable it to lift men and material.

Nearly 300 irrigation schemes and some 680 water-supply networks, particularly in Kinnaur, also have taken a hit. The water-supply damage bill for Rs. 200 crore, so far. Besides, crop on 5,000 hectares is destroyed. Peas growers in Kinnaur are worst hit. Untimely snow and rain have spoiled the apple crops in Kinnaur, as landslides ravaged fruit-laden trees. Entire Kinnaur district has gone without electricity since the flash flood on June 16. The supply, so far, has been restored only to Reckong Peo. Power projects in Kinnaur took a major hit and the total estimated loss to the electricity infrastructure is Rs. 200 crore.

While the last rain claimed two human lives across the state, nearly 10,000 animals were killed because of heavy snow in the higher reaches, where shepherds migrate in summer with livestock. While the sheep and goats perished in snow, the shepherds now are stranded and struggling to survive. Sheep rearing is one of the main occupations in Kinnaur.

Nearly 600 houses have been damaged in rains, so far, in Shimla and Sirmours, and more in Kinnaur district.

Damage report

10,000 animals perished
600 houses damaged
680 water-supply schemes hit
300 irrigation project affected
5,000 hectares on which crop is spoiled.

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