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Himachal CM seeks amendment in norms for relief packages in hilly states

26 Sep 2023

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], September 26 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Tuesday urged for the amendment in the norms for providing relief packages for hilly states.

CM Sukhu made this demand in his address at the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council held in Amritsar and Chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Chief Minister stressed the amendment in the prevailing norms of disaster relief funds at the National and State level.

"These norms were currently affecting the reconstruction and rehabilitation process. The formula for providing compensation packages for hilly states like Himachal which have tough topography should be amended. The parameters of providing financial assistance during disasters should be on the higher side and demanded practical amendments in these norms," CM Sukhu saidThe Chief Minister also demanded a special relief package from the Centre to his disaster-affected state in the aftermath of the heavy rains during the southwest monsoon.

The heavy rains triggered floods and landslides and caused a loss of nearly Rs. 12,000 crore besides the loss of 450 precious human lives, according to the state officials.

He said that the government was trying to recover from one of the worst destruction ever witnessed in which as many as 13,000 houses were completely damaged.

The State Government with the help of the people of the State, immediately started relief and rescue operations during the disaster and now has taken up the task of rehabilitating the homeless. The state government has created Disaster Relief Fund-2023 for the same, he said.

The Chief Minister thanked the Governments of Haryana and Rajasthan for extending financial assistance for carrying out relief and rehabilitation works.

The Chief Minister also sought cooperation from the Punjab Government in handing over the 100 MW Shanan Hydroelectric project, as its lease period will expire in March 2024. A request has also been made to the Central Government in this regard.

CM Sukhu said that Himachal has always made its full contribution to nation-building and the people of the state had to suffer due to the construction of hydropower projects.

He said that in view of Himachal's 7.19 per cent share in the projects of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), there should be a regular full-time member on the BBMB Board of Directors.

The Chief Minister urged for providing 12 per cent free energy royalty to Himachal in BBMB projects.

He also advocated for increasing the royalty from the existing 12 per cent to 30 per cent in the hydropower projects of central undertakings viz: National Hydro Power Corporation, (NHPC) National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL).

He also urged to get released the outstanding amount of Rs 4,000 crore from BBMB as per the decision of the Supreme Court of India.

He stressed the need to use an early warning system and get inundation mapping done before releasing water by reservoirs in the state.

It was seen that during the recent disaster in the state, the sudden release of huge amounts of water from the Pong Dam, Pandoh Dam and Parvati-3 reservoir caused widespread devastation even in the adjoining states.

He said that it was the moral responsibility of the management of Hydel Projects to compensate for this loss and ensure voluntary participation in rehabilitation works.

In the meeting, CM Sukhu also demanded to resolve the border disputes with Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

He said that border disputes at Mohal Theka Dhar Padhri in Chamba district and Jammu and Kashmir and the Sarchu border dispute between Himachal and Ladakh were long pending and need to be resolved at the earliest.

He said that the Himachal government has done concrete work on the decisions taken in the last meeting of the council.

The Chief Minister expressed hope that the Council meeting will further strengthen the mutual coordination and cooperation of the member states and promote economic and social empowerment. (ANI)

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