In a meeting of State Management Disaster Authority (SDMA) held here on Monday, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh ordered an inquiry into the construction of the bus stand at Dharampur in Mandi district, which was devastated recently during a could burst, killing five persons.
He said, “I would like to initiate an inquiry to know under what circumstances the site along the river banks was selected for construction of the bus stand. It was foolish on the part of those who ignored the threat of flash floods and constructed the bus stand along the river bed by erecting a retaining wall to arrest the flow of the river water. This has not only revealed the absent mindedness of the concerned but affected the state ex-chequer as well.”
Virbhadra directed all the departments to have a disaster reduction and mitigation plan and to constitute a multidisciplinary team to mitigate disasters in the state. He further issued directions to obtain utilisation certificates (UCs) of the work done by different departments to whom the funds were allocated to cope up with disasters.
“It has been seen that all the natural culverts on National Highways have been blocked and the water overflows on roads, thus causing damage to them” he said giving direction to the PWD that all the culverts along the entire national and State Highways should be opened as soon as possible.” He conveyed his annoyance for delay in constituting a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) in response to which the additional chief secretary of revenue Tarun Shridhar assured to constitute SDRF within next three months.
Virbhadra said, the vulnerability assessment of temples, overcrowded places and river basins should be carried out for better preparedness and response to mitigate the impact of disasters and directed the PWD department to regularly inspect the fences and the barbed wires along the river beds. He said that those involved in illegal mining had broken the fences at many places which needs to be repaired.
The State Disaster Management Authority today decided to release Rs 100 crore to the worst-affected districts and various departments for restoration, repair and relief operations.
A monsoon of grave losses
•The state suffered total losses during the monsoon to the tune Rs 628.86 crore.
•SDMA released Rs 100 crore to worst-affected areas
•Sum of Rs 2.72 crore was given as ex-gratia payment to as many as 68 persons who lost their lives due to cloud bursts
•The highest toll of human lives was in Chamba district where 24 people lost their lives
•In Bilaspur 11 people were killed.
•652 livestock perished and the loss on this account has been assessed as Rs 52.68 lakh.
•2395 structures damaged out of which 1210 house were fully damaged either partially or fully.
•The losses to roads, bridges and lateral roads was assessed at Rs 400 crore
•Water supply schemes suffered a loss of Rs 172 crore,
•Horticulture and Agriculture departments suffered a loss of Rs. 52 and Rs 16 crore respectively.
•The government enhanced ex-gratia payment of the aggrieved families, irrespective of their place of residence and nationality, to Rs 4 lakh from Rs 1.50 lakh.
•Farmers and horticulturalists would be provided the benefit even when the loss is 33 per cent instead of 50 per cent as was the condition earlier.