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Himachal Pradesh Declares Heavy Rains As State Calamity

The Himachal Pradesh government Friday declared the massive damage caused by heavy rains as a state calamity.

Himachal Pradesh Declares Heavy Rains As State Calamity
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The Himachal Pradesh government Friday declared the massive damage caused by heavy rains as a state calamity.

The entire hill state has been declared as a "natural calamity affected area" in view of the damage caused to human life and property due to heavy rains, a notification issued here on Friday said.   

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had told PTI that the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to declare the massive damage caused by heavy rains as a state calamity.

The state is also awaiting a response from the Centre to declare the disaster in Himachal Pradesh as a national calamity, Sukhu said.

Speaking to PTI, Principal Secretary (Revenue) Onkar Chand Sharma said that after the weather becomes normal and accessibility is improved, a complete assessment of the losses incurred by the hill state would be conducted and the report will be submitted to the Centre for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, with the recovery of three more bodies from the rubble of a Shiv temple in Summer Hill on Friday, the death toll in rain-battered Himachal Pradesh has risen to 77 and 23 of these deaths were in the three major landslides in Shimla alone -- at the Shiva temple in Summer Hill and in Fagli and Krishnanagar, Shimla SP Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi said.

About four persons are still feared buried in the temple debris, the SP said.

Heavy rains have lashed the hill state since Sunday, triggering landslides in several districts, including Shimla.

The chief minister said rescue operations are going on in full swing and the state government is making efforts to help the affected families especially those whose houses have been damaged in the flash floods and landslides with its own resources.

"Central teams have inspected the affected areas for loss assessment and we need timely help from the Centre," Sukhu said, adding that Himachal Pradesh has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 10,000 crore.

Since the onset of the monsoon in the hill state on June 24, 220 persons have died in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh and 11,637 houses have been partially or completely damaged, according to the state emergency operation centre.

Over 600 roads are still closed in the state, out of which 550 would be opened in the next three days, said Public Works department (PWD) Minister Vikramaditya Singh. About 408 transformers and 149 water supply schemes have been disrupted.

Over the last three days, 2,074 people have been evacuated from the flooded areas of Kangra district.

Sukhu earlier said the state would need a year to rebuild the infrastructure damaged by the heavy rains this monsoon.

The state government on Thursday relaxed conditions for spending the MLA local area development fund.

The MLAs would now be able to use their fund of Rs 2.10 crore per year for projects like construction of retaining walls and channelisation of drains.

- With PTI Input

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