After more than 80 people were killed in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh in the past three days and an estimated loss of Rs 10,000 crore, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu termed rebuilding the damaged infrastructure a "mountain-like challenge". Even as the state continued to rescue those affected by rain-triggered landslides and floods, a fresh landslide hit Shimla's Krishna Nagar area on Tuesday, killing two people. The Indian Air Force choppers carried out over 50 sorties in last 48 hours and rescued over 780 people.
In an interview with PTI, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu blamed the lack of “structural designing” in the state coupled with incessant rainfall, for the extensive damage and deaths. "Buildings obstruct the natural course of water flow at places, and there is little attention paid to designing structures. The river didn’t enter homes, the homes entered the river,” he said.
Climate change, infrastructure issues and rampant construction
Noting that this was the “first time” about 50 people died in a single day due to rain-related incidents, the CM laid the blame on climate change along with faulty structural design in the state. It never rained like this before in Lahaul-Spiti, he said, giving an example.
Sukhu said Himachal Pradesh gets ignored because it has small representation in Parliament, but the state should be given a special package by the Centre as it is the “lungs of northern India”.
He indicated that there would be new guidelines and tougher implementation of building rules. He cited issues like proper drainage, studying the soil on which buildings are being constructed and a consideration of weight-bearing capacity of floors.
Educational institutions closed in Shimla
All educational institutions will remain closed in the Shimla Urban assembly segment on August 17 as several roads are blocked. Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Shimla (Urban) Bhanu Gupta said a "fake letter" claiming that all educational institutions would remain closed in the state on August 17 is going viral on social media and the cyber cell has been asked to investigate the matter and take strict action.
The SDMs are taking decisions on the closure of schools and colleges in their respective areas.