Four dead in fresh bout of rains in Himachal, BJP says ‘biggest responsibility’ lies with state govt


Heavy overnight rains triggered landslides in Himachal Pradesh, claiming four lives, blocking over 200 more roads and damaging houses, officials said on Wednesday. The meteorological office has issued a red alert predicting “heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated spells of extremely heavy” rains in four of the state’s 12 districts over a period of 24 hours. A total of 530 roads in the state are now shut following three major spells of heavy rains that left a trail of death and destruction.
Shimla was the hardest hit, with landslides and uprooted trees blocking the main road, the lifeline of the town as well as several points on the Shimla-Mehli bypass. Many houses have also developed cracks and people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure. Two migrants—Jhalo and his wife Rajkumari—were found dead in their makeshift house in Baldeyan, Police Superintendent Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi, said. Residents have been warned to avoid unnecessary travel. Two persons, Parma Nand and his teenaged grandson Gopi, were killed in a landslide at Dagol village in Mandi district. About 80 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state this month while a total of 227 people have died while 38 are still missing since the onset of monsoon in the state.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday demanded that the Centre announce a Rs 10,000 crore special package for Himachal Pradesh and declare the rain-induced devastation a “national disaster”.
Congress leader and in-charge for Himachal Pradesh, Rajeev Shukla urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar to allow MPs from both houses to provide relief to the hill state out of the MP Local Area Development Fund. Terming the crisis in the state as unprecedented, he said the northern state has not gotten the national attention required as it has “never suffered so much devastation in its history”.
On the same day, BJP state in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said a “major effort” is required to rebuild Himachal and asserted that the Congress-led government should not politicise the issue. He also demanded that Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu’s government formulate policy to minimise the loss of lives and properties in natural disasters.