Shimla: Alarmed over the about reports of devastations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent BJP national President J P Nadda to tour all disaster affected areas, including Shimla—the state capital, which wracked by the torrential rains, floods and landslides leaving a shocking trail of deaths and destructions.
The state government, on its own, has declared the entire Himachal Pradesh as “disaster affected” state and is now asking the centre for help to cope -up with unprecedented loss of lives ( 338 till now) and Rs 10,000 cr damages.
Nadda will be accompanied by union minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur and they will be joined by former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, state BJP president Rajeev Bindal and Shimla MP Suresh Kashyap.
Last week’s landslide at Shiv Banwadi temple which claimed 20 lives, 17 bodies recovered so far, has left the hill town in mourning with a family seeing deaths of six members while other three family members including two university professors and their son.
Equally devastating was the crumbling down of a multi-storey building and Shimla Municipal Corporation’s modern slaughter house in downtown Krishna Nagar locality. The scary videos of the building collapse have gone viral on social media. Two persons died as they got trapped in the building.
More than a dozen buildings with several families have also become dangerous due to wide cracks on the surface due to sinking of Shimla localities. Standing trees falling on the houses and roads have made the living dangerous in the town—once considered a “queen of hills” and tourist hub.
As per Bindal “ Nadda ji will fly straight to Sataun in Shillai on Sunday to assess the situation at Taal ,one of the worst hit areas of Sirmaur district and landslide site at Kacchi Daank. He will also meet affected families,who have lost everything including houses and lands”.
Later in the day, Nadda will be in Shimla and will drive to Shiv Bawadi mandir – the site where 20 persons got buried down alive on the last ‘auspicious day’ of Sawan Somwar puja in the town. The State Disaster Force was still working to dig –out bodies from the slush and debris that had completely erased the temple complex that existed for decades.
After holding a meeting with state government officials and district administration, Nadda will leave for Bilaspur –his home town where he will again meet affected families.
Earlier, Nadda had visited Kullu-Manali and Mandi areas.
Reports said the Prime Minister had held a meeting with union home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh and BJP national president J P Nadda a day before and asked Nadda to take a review of the relief and restoration works going on in the state and also Shimla.
State Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has also reached Delhi for the second time to take-up the issue of sanctioning relief package to the state. He has already met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah and Defence minister Rajnath singh, besides holding a meeting with union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
“I understand there is a procedure which the centre follows before sanctioning any package for calamities of such an unprecedented scale. The central teams are visiting the state. I also had a brief Nadda ji. Now, quite hopeful about the centre granting such package” he told India Narrative.
Why Shimla had crumbled down the landslides when he Sukhu asked has blamed it on haphazard constructions in the hill town which have blocked the natural drainage system and waste water flow.
“Over the years, the buildings have been raised over water bodies and century old drains (nullahs). The excessive and relentless rains starting from April to July-August 2023 have weakened the whole strata of hills. The example of the Shiv Bawari temple landslide which was triggered from Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) flowed down in huge force to wash away whatever came in its way. The bodies were found 200 meter downhill” he says.