The Uttarakhand cabinet on Monday approved the constitution of a state rehabilitation and reconstruction authority for a long-term exercise to redevelop the areas destroyed by the flash floods.
The proposal came amid predictions of heavy rains from July 5-7 and an assessment that 3,068 pilgrims were missing since the disaster struck.
“The proposed authority will have statutory backing, under which reconstruction would be carried out in view of the state’s infrastructural requirements in the next 100 years,” chief minister Vijay Bahuguna said.
The authority, to be headed by the CM, will have on board geologists, environmentalists, tourism experts and members of local social organisations to work out a sustainable development programme keeping the sensitive Himalayan ecology in mind.
“We have prohibited construction on river banks. Violating the prohibition orders would entail legal action,” Bahuguna said in the company of Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and senior Congress leader Ambika Son.
“We will also formulate a separate policy to adopt children of parents killed in the disaster,” he added.
Ramesh said international funding agencies were expected to power the rebuilding process with a Rs. 3,000 crore package while the Centre would add to the Rs. 1,000 crore.
After the widespread havoc created by flash floods, the government had drawn flak from various quarters for allowing unregulated constructions that had choke the natural water outlets over the years, leading to the floods in which more than 3,000 people are feared dead.
The announcement came amid reports that rescue operations would be completed by the evening.
Hotels, guest houses and commercial establishments along the banks of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, the tributaries of the Ganga in Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts suffered extensive damage in the recent calamity.
Other important decisions taken by the Cabinet included exemption of affected locals from repaying loans taken from cooperative banks and nationalised banks for one year and supplying free of cost 15 kgs each of rice and flour, 5 kgs of pulses, 3 kgs of sugar, one litre each of refined and mustard oil, salt and spices and 10 litres of kerosene to each affected family inhabiting areas that are totally cut off for one month.
Students upto intermediate standard will be given a one time compensation of Rs. 500 each while students of polytechnic and degree colleges will get an amount of Rs. one thousand as one time compensation, Bahuguna announced.\
Owners of ordinary shops and dhabas that were washed away in flash floods would get Rs. 50,000-Rs 1 lakh each
Compensation will be Rs. 2 lakh for hotels/guesthouses completely damaged. Others to get 10% to 30% of the total damages
Farmers can sell the silt deposited in their fields within the state.
Tax on electricity and water and the loans taken by disaster-hit families from June 1 this year waived off
Students sin schools, intermediate colleges and ITIs to get Rs. 500 each and those enrolled in polytechnic, degree colleges and other such institutions Rs. 1000 each