'Declare flood in Uttarakhand, HP national calamity'
Committee members also suggested more helicopters be pressed into service to evacuate the stranded people.
New Delhi: The Standing Committee on Home Ministry on Friday unanimously recommended to the government that the devastation caused by floods in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh be declared a national calamity.
In a meeting held on Friday, the Standing Committee agreed unanimously that the unprecedented nature's fury in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh be declared a "national calamity" and urged the Centre to extend all support to the two states in relief and rehabilitation operations.
The meeting, chaired by the Committee head M Venkaiah Naidu of BJP, also suggested more helicopters be pressed into service to evacuate the stranded people. Naidu wrote a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde enumerating the various suggestions of the Standing Committee.
He also talked to Shinde on the phone later and requested that he ask the Railway Ministry to run free trains for the people from other states who are stranded in Uttarakhand. The panel also agreed the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairperson relax norms of MPLAD fund disbursal so that MPs can contribute from their share to Uttarakhand.
Naidu has already donated Rs 50 Lakh from his MPLAD fund. He met some of the rescued people in Andhra Bhawan here and asked them about their problems. Meanwhile, LK Advani, who is also a member of the Standing Committee, also talked to Shinde requesting that he take measures to rescue some members of the Shivgiri Mutt of Kerala who had gone to Uttarkhand. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
In its letter to Shinde, the Standing Committee described the floods in Uttarakhand as being the "rarest of the rare cases of its kind". It recommended the government should provide temporary shelters to those families which have lost their houses in the floods. They should also be provided adequate compensation to rebuild their homes.
The panel said arrangements should be made for providing transporation to those who were visiting Uttarakhand so that they can reach their homes. Naidu also requested through his letter that adequate compensation should be provided to the families affected by loss of lives.
Uttarkashi: 01374-226126, 226161
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