Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has declared a special relief package of Rs 4,500 crore to assist individuals affected by rain-related disasters that occurred between July 7 and September 30. The package encompasses Rs 1,000 crore earmarked for initiatives under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), specifically for the construction of retaining walls.
Of the total package, Rs 3,500 crore is designated for those impacted by disasters, and Rs 1,000 crore is allocated to MGNREGA for infrastructure projects. Chief Minister Sukhu emphasized that aid from this special package will be available to all affected individuals without regard to income limits, encompassing those whose homes, agricultural land, or crops have been damaged.
During this period, 3,500 houses were entirely destroyed, and 13,000 suffered partial damage. The state government has already expended Rs 1,850 crore from its own funds for the temporary restoration of services, with an additional Rs 1,051 crore set to be released soon.
The relief for those with completely destroyed homes has been raised to Rs 7 lakh, regardless of whether they were made of kutcha (unburnt clay bricks) or pucca (burnt clay bricks). The government is also offering free electricity and water connections, along with cement at government rates. For partially damaged homes, the relief has been increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 1 lakh, while shops, dhabas (roadside eateries), and cowsheds have seen their relief amounts raised as well.
Compensation for the loss of agriculture and horticulture crops has increased from Rs 3,615 per hectare (equivalent to 12.5 bigha) to Rs 10,000 per bigha. People whose lands have been washed away or rendered unsuitable for construction will receive 135 square yards of land in rural areas and 90 square yards in urban areas. Those who have lost all their belongings will receive Rs 50,000 as relief, a significant increase from the previous amount of Rs 2,500.
Chief Minister Sukhu criticized the Himachal Pradesh branch of the BJP for engaging in political maneuvers during the calamity. He asserted that the party did not back the government’s resolution to declare the disaster a national one and announce a special relief package of Rs 12,000 crore.
Sukhu added that aside from the funds allocated for disaster management, no additional assistance from the central government has been received thus far. Despite facing financial constraints, his government initiated special relief packages independently. On August 18, he declared the extensive damage caused by heavy rains as a state calamity.
The Himachal Pradesh assembly adopted a resolution on September 20, urging the Union government to declare the recent calamity a national disaster and announce a special relief package of Rs 12,000 crore. During the monsoon season that began on June 24, over 290 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents, and numerous landslides and flash floods were reported.