Uttarakhand govt allocates Rs 10 crore this fiscal to shift disaster-prone villages
The Uttarakhand government has allocated Rs 10 crore for this year to relocate villages in disaster-prone areas to safer locations.
“Of 225 villages that were initially kept under the most sensitive category, we have managed to rehabilitate many families. The government has approved Rs 10 crore for this year, and we are hopeful to benefit more families,” said Amit Singh Negi, secretary, disaster management.
The government has rehabilitated 188 families of 13 villages and plans to shift nearly 10 villages with over 150 families.
In 2011, the state government came up with a rehabilitation policy for natural disasters, which entitles a family a land of 250 square metres and a cash of Rs 3 lakh for construction of a house. The amount was later increased to Rs 4 lakh.
The government had initially listed 395 villages under the most sensitive category. Later 225 villages, reeling under the threat of natural disasters ranging from landslides to floods, were surveyed and selected for relocation.
After the 2013 flash floods in the Kedarnath valley, the need for relocating sensitive villages assumed urgency as most of the hilly regions in the state are considered highly fragile.
Officials handling the relocation project said the Congress government wasn’t active on rehabilitation, and the BJP government pushed the process last year.
Four families in Rudraprayag and seven in Chamoli were rehabilitated after the policy came into being. In the 2017-18 financial year, 171 families in 11 villages -- Bageshwar (3 villages), Chamoli (2), Tehri (1), and Rudraprayag (5) -- were rehabilitated with an expenditure of Rs 6.63 crore.
“Between 2011 and 2017 (March), only 11 families were rehabilitated. But, last year 171 families of 11 villages were rehabilitated. The government wants to safeguard families living in constant threat of disasters,” said an official involved in rehabilitation.
The district magistrate (DM) concerned allots land and Rs 4 lakh for house construction. The families also get funds for construction of shelters for animals, compensation for business and livelihood, and shifting cost.
Land availability remains a concern, officials said. Under the policy, the DMs are required to acquire private, abandoned, revenue and government land for allocation.
Chief minister TS Rawat and chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh are monitoring the rehabilitation process. The government plans to relocate some families in two months before the monsoon starts in June, officials said.