Uttarakhand government today demanded an assistance of Rs 500 crore from the Centre in view of the largescale damage caused by heavy rains and landslides in different parts of the state apart from seeking funds and resources to relocate at least 350 villages to safer places.
The demands were made by Chief Minister Harish Rawat when he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, an official release here said.
Presenting a preliminary estimate of the extent of damage caused by the recent spell of heavy rains before Prime Minister, Rawat said losses worth Rs 1000 crore have been inflicted on the state this rainy season which is likely to rise up to Rs 1,500 crore by the end of September.
Apart from loss of precious human lives in Pithoragarh, Uttarkashi, and Chamoli districts, there was great damage to property and infrastructure which is beyond the means of the state government to make up for, he said.
Citing limited resources at the state government’s disposal, he demanded an immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore from Modi to bring life back on track in the affected areas.
Also taking up the issue of relocation of hundreds of villages in the disaster-prone districts, Rawat said around 350 villages are located in areas vulnerable to landslides.
A massive effort will have to be made to accomplish the task which will cost at least Rs 10,000 crore, he said.
Seeking a generous helping hand from the Centre, Rawat said forest land should be made available to the state to relocate these villages in safer zones.
“With 70 per cent of land covered with forests we don’t have enough land to relocate these villages all by ourselves. We need a huge amount of forest land for this purpose in which the Centre can be of great help,” Rawat was quoted as saying at his meeting with Modi.
The Chief Minister also suggested, the forest department can be compensated for the land it gives with the land of the villages being relocated.
Noting the task will be complex, Rawat also advised the Prime Minister to constitute a committee consisting of people drawn from disaster management, different ministries and government departments to monitor the entire process of the relocation of endangered villages.