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Himachal seeks calamity relief on Uttarakhand pattern

Himachal seeks calamity relief on Uttarakhand patternShimla, Aug 29 : The Himachal Pradesh government would ask for additional calamity relief from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund on the pattern of disaster-hit Uttarakhand, Revenue Minister Kaul Singh said Thursday.

"We are trying our best to provide relief to victims within the available resources," Singh said while replying to a question in the assembly.

He said Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to expedite the early release of Rs. 1,972.08 crore based on the damage estimates, so restoration and relief works could be taken up fast.

"There was much damage in Uttarakhand, but somehow the media exaggerated figures," he said.

The minister said deaths due to rains in the state June 15-17 had risen to 64 and losses were pegged at Rs. 2,934.05 crore.

A total of 9,812 buildings got damaged and 24,390 animals died. Four persons went missing.

He said maximum damage was reported from Kinnaur district where 23 people died.

The minister said the central government had provided Rs. 68.12 crore relief in the first instalment and another amount of Rs. 69 crore was due for release.

He said the state had released Rs. 129.24 crore for relief works.

Raising the issue, former state revenue minister Gulab Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party said there was difference in the relief being distributed to victims in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

"In Uttarakhand, the relief in case of death, handicap and damage to house is on the higher side against Himachal. The state needs to review its relief manual and take up with the central government to give additional relief to the victims here," he said. (IANS)