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20 killed as rain wreaks havoc in Himachal, damages infrastructure; PM Modi speaks with CM Sukhu

Shimla: Incessant rains over the past three days have wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh triggering landslides, causing power disruption, blocking roads, damaging bridges with the swollen rivers in the state reflecting the nature's fury that has claimed 20 lives over the past 48 hours.
Tourists are stranded in parts of the hill state with an initial official estimate of the loss to infrastructure estimated between Rs 3000 crore to Rs. 4000 crore

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the state has not seen such heavy rains for the past 50 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Chief Minister regarding damages caused due to heavy rains in the State and assured full support to the state government to come out of crisis.
The Chief Minister urged the Centre to declare the situation in the state "as a national calamity" saying the recovery process is estimated to take a long time.

Kullu has been among the worst affected districts in Himachal Pradesh with visuals showing a truck flowing in the waters of the furiously flowing Beas river in the district.
In Mandi, Panchvaktra temple has been submerged in the waters of Beas river.
Former Chief Minister and BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur said that houses got swept away due to floods and at least 12 big bridges have been damaged or swept away.
Himachal Pradesh has been "worst affected" due to incessant rains that have also impacted several other parts of the country.
Sukhu, who has been monitoring the situation, held a review meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority, (SDMA) from Nadaun through video conference and gave necessary directions to the authorities.
He said that nature's fury has caused extensive damage to the roads, power transformers, electric sub-stations and numerous water supply schemes and has thrown the normal life out of gear in various parts of the state. A hydro-electric project has also been affected.

He asked all directed all the Deputy Commissioners to remain vigilant for the next 10 days and provide all possible assistance to the affected persons.
Expressing sorrow over the loss of lives and property caused by the landslides and flash floods, the Chief Minister assured that the State Government is making all-out efforts to tackle this situation efficiently.
He said that prompt rescue operations were launched in the affected areas and many precious lives had been saved by taking in-time action.
He asked the district authorities to involve representatives from Panchayati Raj Institutions and local residents to undertake relief and rescue operations and instructed immediate restoration of electricity and water supply in affected areas so that people do not face many inconveniences. He also directed for construction of Bailey Bridges to replace the damaged ones, in order to facilitate the stranded people.
Sukhu said that efforts were underway to evacuate around 300 stranded tourists and residents in Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu districts by using helicopters once the weather permits.
He gave directions for making adequate arrangements for accommodation, food, and essential items for the people stranded besides preparing a State-wise list of stranded tourists.
He said that the torrential rains have caused huge losses in the state and caused much damage to life and property during the last few days.

Sukhu said the state government will ensure sufficient funds available for assisting the affected people.
He said that he would likely visit the affected areas soon to have on the spot assessment.
With the apple season approaching, the Chief Minister emphasized the restoration of roads in apple-growing regions at the earliest to ensure smooth transportation of apple crops to prevent losses to the apple growers.
He asked to keep the Parwanoo-Rohru, Theog to Rampur, Chhaila to Kumarhatti roads and other apple belt roads open and deploy additional men and machinery to clear the debris to ensure smooth transportation of apple laden vehicles.
He allocated Rs 4 crore for immediate improvements of roads in these areas.
The Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra has been halted for the rest of the season due to six deaths reported during the pilgrimage.
PM Modi, in his conversation with the Chief Minister, inquired about the extent of the damages caused to life and property due to heavy rains and floods in Himachal Pradesh.
The Chief Minister informed him that the State has been severely affected by floods and heavy rainfall, leading to extensive damage and provided an update on the situation and sought liberal assistance from the Central Government to tackle this natural calamity.
Sukhu told PM Modi that the State Government was closely monitoring the situation.
He said the state government was actively engaged in providing aid to those affected by the floods. Essential supplies were being provided to the stranded individuals and efforts were underway to airlift them once the weather conditions improve.
Sukhu expressed his appreciation for deputing National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to assist in the rescue operations.
The Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh would require substantial assistance from the Union Government to recover from the extensive losses caused by the calamity. He appealed to the Prime Minister to extend a special economic package to aid in the state's recovery process.
In response to Chief Minister's concerns, the Prime Minister assured him of the Union Government's unwavering support, promising all possible assistance to come out of this crisis, a state government release said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jagat Prakash Nadda also called the Chief Minster on phone and took stock of the damages and about relief and rescue operations being carried out in the State.
In the span of 24 hours Himachal Pradesh has recorded 92 mm of rains, officials said.
They said Himachal Pradesh normally receives 168.9 mm of rain between June 1 and July 10 but this time 360.2 mm of rain has been recorded, which is 113 per cent more than normal.
Between July 1 and July 10, 239.3 mm of rainfall has been recorded in the state, which is 253 per cent more than normal.
According to the data received from the Meteorological Department, the normal rainfall should have been 68.7 mm.
As per the data of Disaster Management Authority, 20 people died and over 1300 roads are closed in Himachal.
Sukhu, who appealed to people to stay indoors for the next 24 hours on Monday morning, announced helpline numbers to assist those in need. .
"I again request the people of Himachal, please stay inside your homes for the next 24 hours because there is a chance of heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours," he said.
"We have arranged three helpline numbers 1100, 1070 and can call these numbers in case of any emergency and I will also be available 24 hours," he added.
CM Sukhu also requested all the MLAs to remain in their constituencies and assist the people in need. Water supply has also been affected in several areass.
Jairam Thakur visited Mandi to review the situation as the district is ravaged by flash floods and landslides following incessant rainfall in the state.
"We have never seen this situation in past several years and we are very worried after seeing the situation of the state. Rise in water level is seen in several small and big rivers of the state," Jairam Thakur said. 

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