‘Declare Himachal crisis a national disaster’: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi urges Central govt

Sep 13, 2023 01:59 PM IST

Priyanka Gandhi visited the Shiv Temple in Shimla's Summer Hill and took note of the situation and to meet the families of the victims.

Congress leader and AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, who is visiting the flood-affected areas of Himachal Pradesh, visited the Shiv Temple in Shimla's Summer Hill, where a landslide on August 14 killed 20 people, and said that it would help the state if the Central government would declare the Himachal crisis a national disaster.

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi meets the disaster effected families at Summerhill temple. (HT Photo)
AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi meets the disaster effected families at Summerhill temple. (HT Photo)

Visiting the temple with Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and other state ministers, Gandhi took note of the situation and to meet the families of the victims.

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Speaking to reporters, she said, “The situation is very painful. People have suffered a great loss. We said yesterday too that everyone has to face this together.”

Himachal Pradesh has suffered unprecedented losses due to heavy rain. So far, the losses have been pegged at 8,600 crore, which chief minister Sukhu said could go up to 12,000 crore. As many as 426 people have lost their lives in the recent rain-related incidents, while 39 are still missing. More than 2,575 houses have been fully damaged and 11,000 partially.

Gandhi praised the people of Himachal for standing together and helping each other in such a difficult time, adding that the State government has begun compensating the people of the state for their losses.

She added, “If the Centre declares this a national disaster, it will help the state a lot. Looking at Centre's policies it doesn't seem like they understand the height of destruction that the state of Himachal has faced.”

Priyanka arrived in Himachal on Tuesday as she was received by Sukhu at the Chandigarh airport from where they flew to Bhuntar airport in Kullu. She met the families displaced by the floods in July in Kullu and Manali, and headed for Pandoh and Mandi, the epicentre of cloudbursts and floods in July and August, before going to Shamli in Solan district, where houses have been damaged due to land subsidence.

Gandhi also said that Himachal Congress chief and MP Pratibha Singh would like to up the issue of declaring the havoc that rainfall caused on Himachal a national disaster during the upcoming special session of the Parliament, which will be held from September 18 to 22.

“We don't know what this special session will be about or whether they will allow these issues to come up. But we were discussing that even if that doesn't happen, representation should go to the Central Government and we will all put our strength in that and try to convince them that they must declare it a national disaster,” she said.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Pratibha Singh said that it was her duty to put forth the concerns of the people of Himachal in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Singh said, “I have written a letter to all our MPs that we should together go and meet the PM. And will caution the PM that he didn't even speak a word on Himachal Pradesh where such a tragedy occurred and no financial aid has been announced for this...I will raise this issue in the Parliament too, that Himachal Pradesh should be helped during these times.”

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    Sanskriti Falor is a Senior Content Producer at the News Desk of HT Digital. Having worked in Digital Media for the past two years, she is interested in covering civic issues and global affairs.

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