‘Congress to demand declaration of Himachal crisis a national disaster in Parliament’

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said Mandi MP Pratibha Singh would raise in the special session of Parliament A demand for declaring the recent calamity in Himachal Pradesh a “national disaster”. However, Gandhi said she was “not sure” if Singh, who is also the Himachal Congress chief, would be “allowed” to raise the demand during the session. A special session of Parliament will be held from 18 to 22 September. “We do not know what the session is about and whether [Singh] would be allowed to raise the issue or not but even if this does not happen, we should make a strong representation to the Centre on it and the Congress would fully support it,” the Congress general secretary told reporters during her visit to the Shiva temple site at Shimla’s Summer Hill.
Twenty people were killed in the landslide at the Shiva temple on 14 August. Gandhi also met the families affected by the landslide. Three landslides claimed 27 lives in Shimla city with Fagli and Krishnanagar slides claiming five and two lives. The leader also visited the Krishnanagar landslide site and met displaced families. She said several issues like the restoration of national highways—which can be fixed only by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)—and declaring the destruction following heavy rains a national disaster would facilitate restoration works in the state.
She was on a two-day visit to the rain-affected areas of Kullu, Mandi, Shimla and Solan districts and visited Mandi and Kullu on Tuesday. Following her visit to Kullu, she urged the Centre to declare the calamity due to heavy rains a national disaster. “Though the state government is using its limited resources to provide succour to the affected families, it is difficult to restore normalcy and complete renovation works besides providing aid to the people without Central help,” the Congress leader said. The Himachal BJP on Tuesday hit out at Priyanka Gandhi for visiting the state two months after disaster struck.
From the onset of monsoon on 24 June 24 to 12 September, Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of Rs 8,679 crore. About 270 people have died in rain-related incidents, according to the state emergency operation centre. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who pegged the losses at Rs 12,000 crore, has already urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the calamity in the hill state a national disaster.

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