Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday visited Leh and announced that all the houses destroyed in flash floods would be rebuilt before the onset of winter. To make sure his promise was fulfilled, he would again visit the place later this year.
During his daylong visit to Leh, the prime minister announced a grant of Rs.125 crore out of the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for reconstruction of Leh town and adjacent villages.
He also announced Rs.100,000 ex-gratia relief for the next of kin of those who died in the calamity and Rs.50,000 each to those injured in the Aug 6 flashfloods triggered by a massive cloudburst. At least 179 people, including six foreigners, were killed while 200 people are still missing in the disaster.
Addressing the victims of the tragedy, the prime minister said the purpose of his visit to Leh was to share the pain of the people of Ladakh at this critical point of time, in which so many precious lives had been lost and many children rendered orphans.
He assured complete rehabilitation of the affected people would be undertaken with the collective efforts of the central and state governments and the Leh Hill Council before the onset of winter.
Besides, restoration of hospitals, CT scan units, drinking water supplies, electricity and road connectivity would be carried out effectively, the prime minister added.
He said all the restoration and rehabilitation works would be carried out under the supervision of a monitoring committee headed by the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary.
The prime minister assured that money would be a constraint for the reconstruction of Leh.
Later, he held a high-level review meeting on the losses, relief and rehabilitation measures. The meeting was attended by Governor N.N. Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, union New and Renewable Energy Resources Minister Farooq Abdullah, senior officials of the state and the district administration.
The Jammu and Kashmir commissioner/secretary, planning and Ladakh Affairs, B.B. Vyas gave a presentation to the prime minister about the damage caused by the cloudburst and the future strategies about relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures.
During his visit, Manmohan Singh gave a patient hearing to the people's demands and problems at the relief camp at Himank Complex and enquired about the supply of relief materials and availability of ration.
The heads and representatives of different religious, social and political organizations also called on the prime minister at the relief camp in Himank and submitted memoranda urging generous central assistance for reconstruction of Leh district.