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Will Take A Year To Rebuild, Says Himachal Chief Minister On Rain Damage

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu terming the work of rebuilding a “mountain-like challenge”. (File)

Heavy rains have battered the hill state since Sunday, triggering landslides in several districts including Shimla where three areas — Summer Hill, Fagli and Krishna Nagar — are badly hit by landslips.

India NewsPress Trust of India

Updated: August 17, 2023 12:08 am IST

Shimla: 

At least 71 people have died in the past three days and 13 are still missing in Himachal Pradesh after devastating rains pounded the state, with Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu terming the work of rebuilding infrastructure a “mountain-like challenge”.

The death count from landslides and flashfloods jumped on Wednesday as rescuers pulled out more bodies from the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said.

Heavy rains have battered the hill state since Sunday, triggering landslides in several districts including Shimla where three areas — Summer Hill, Fagli and Krishna Nagar — are badly hit by landslips.

“At least 71 people have died in the past three days and 13 are still missing. As many as 57 bodies have been recovered since Sunday night,” Principal Secretary (Revenue) Onkar Chand Sharma said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Sukhu said that about 60 people have died since Sunday night.

In an interview with PTI, Mr Sukhu said his state will take a year to rebuild the infrastructure wrecked by the heavy rains this monsoon and claimed that the estimated loss in the two devastating spells of heavy rains – this week and in July – is about ₹ 10,000 crore.

The chief minister said it takes time to rebuild roads and water projects. But the government is speeding up the process. “We have to get the infrastructure fully restored within a year. I am working with this in mind.” “It’s a big challenge, a mountain-like challenge,” he said.

According to the state emergency operation centre, in total 214 people have died in the rain-related incidents in the state since the onset of monsoon on June 24 while 38 are still missing.

“Rescue operations are going on in Summer Hill and Krishna Nagar areas…one body was recovered from Summer Hill site,” Shimla Deputy Commissioner Aditya Negi told PTI.

He said so far 13 bodies have been recovered from Summer Hill, five from Fagli and two from Krishna Nagar. Some bodies are still feared buried in the debris of the Shiva temple at Summer Hill that collapsed on Monday.

About 15 houses in Krishna Nagar have been vacated and the families shifted to safer places. Several others have vacated their homes themselves fearing slides due to incessant rains.

The Education department had ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the state on Wednesday due to inclement weather and the Himachal Pradesh University has suspended teaching activities till August 19.

About 800 roads are blocked in the state and the losses suffered by the state since the onset of monsoon on June 24 have crossed ₹ 7,480 crore, officials said, adding as many as 10,714 houses have been completely or partially damaged so far.

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