Himachal rains: Death toll reaches 223; CM monitoring restoration work, road connectivity
10 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
Himachal Revenue Minister, Jagat Singh Negi, conveyed that Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu is personally overseeing the ongoing restoration efforts across the state.
The cumulative death toll resulting from heavy rains, floods, and landslides in Himachal Pradesh since the beginning of the monsoon on June 24 has surged to 223 individuals.
In a conversation with media on Wednesday, the Himachal Revenue Minister, Jagat Singh Negi, conveyed that Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu is personally overseeing the ongoing restoration efforts across the region. Notably, the majority of the state’s areas have been declared safe for tourism following the restoration initiatives. Furthermore, he noted the successful reopening of the Kalka-Shimla National Highway for traffic.
Negi emphasized the Himachal Chief Minister’s vigilant monitoring of restoration endeavors and road connectivity, highlighting the resumption of traffic flow on the Kalka-Shimla National Highway, now accessible to buses, while truck movement remains restricted.
The extent of the damage becomes starkly evident as Negi revealed grim statistics. The toll stands at 223 lives lost and 295 individuals injured. The devastation extends to a staggering 800 completely destroyed houses, along with an additional 7,500 houses partially damaged. Local institutions such as civic bodies, schools, and community centers have also sustained significant harm, as recounted by the Revenue Minister.
Addressing the agricultural sector, Negi conveyed that despite the apple harvesting season being delayed by about a month due to incessant rains, efforts are focused on facilitating smooth transportation to markets. While production estimates are slightly lower than the previous year, Negi assured that the roads’ restoration enables apples and other crops from lower-altitude regions to reach markets without hindrance.
A shift in government policy has brought about new regulations for fruit sales, with apples and other produce sold based on their weight. To enforce this policy, sub-divisional officers have been deployed to maintain the process’s integrity. They have been granted with powers conferred by the APMC Act to address any violations that may arise. The Directorate of Horticulture, in conjunction with the Agriculture Marketing Produce Corporation, is actively evaluating the market situation throughout the Himachal Pradesh.