HP demands 374 crore for damages during winter season

SHIMLA-14 June, 2019-Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal chaired the meeting of the Inter Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) here today which was on the three-day visit to the State to assess the damages and losses occurred during winter season-2019 in the State.

He informed that the State suffered major loss and damage in the winter season due to heavy snowfall, avalanches, landslides, hailstorms and heavy rains. The State has submitted a memorandum of loss and damages to the government of India amounting to Rs. 374.21 crore.

The Chief Secretary said that during the period between 1st January to 31st March 2019, as many as 408 human lives and 207 animal lives were lost in the State. Similarly, 1346 houses, 9516 water supply schemes were damaged, 30,921 electricity lines were disrupted, 10,260 LT electrical poles got damaged. Besides, 13,733 kilometre roads length and 377 hectare horticulture crop area was affected during the period.

He urged the IMCT to push forward the case of Himachal Pradesh for financial assistance at the earliest with the government of India.
The IMCT team headed by Joint Secretary, KB Singh from Freedom Fighters Rehabilitation department assessed the damages at various places in Shimla, Kinnaur, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts. The other members if the IMCT were Director (Horticulture) Dr. M.N. Singh, Director (Expenditure) S.C. Meena, Deputy Director (Ministry of Rural Development), Deputy Director from Rural Development SS Modi, Director, Central Water Commission OP Gupta, Deputy Director, Power OP Suman, Regional Officer, Road Transport and Highways Vipnesh Sharma.

Detailing about the cumulative losses suffered by the State, Director-cum-Special Secretary, HP Disaster Management Authority D.C Rana informed that the State suffered damaged to the horticulture and agriculture sector to the tune of 0.54 crore, animal husbandry Rs. 0.19 crore, fishery 0.015 crore, housing Rs. 10.46 crore, community assets Rs. 2.50 crore, forest Rs. 6.78 crore, Public works department Rs. 242.27 crore, IPH Rs. 43.97 crore and Power Rs. 51.17 crore. Besides Rs. 16.32 crore have been distributed as ex-gratia for human lives lost during the calamities in winter season.

Additional Chief Secretary Anil Khachi and R.D Dhiman, Special Secretary D.D Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Shimla Amit Kashyap and the head of the departments of PWD, IPH, State electricity Board, agriculture, horticulture, forests and fisheries etc. were present in the meeting.

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SHIMLA -14 June, 2019

Midterm review meeting of Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project held

A mission from World Bank held a midterm review meeting with State government under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary B. K. Agarwal to re-assess the initial project design, including objectives, activities, implementation mechanisms and sector priorities.

The mission was in Himachal Pradesh on a field tour from 3 June to 14 June, 2019 and visited various parts of the state like Tissa in Chamba, Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti and Janjehli in Mandi. Evaluation of the continued relevance and feasibility of the operation as approved in the current environment was also discussed in the meeting.

Chief Secretary said that State government is committed to provide every help to support Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project in the state. When apprised about the shortage of staff, he directed Himachal Pradesh Marketing Corporation (HPMC) and HP Marketing Board to hire professionals on outsource basis. He said that the project is supporting interventions designed to help the horticulture sector to improve productivity and build resilience against weather-related shocks while improving market access to provide incentives for fruit growers to produce as per the market need.

He said that Rs. 240 crores will be spent on HPMC and Rs. 330 crores on irrigation facilities till year 2023. He asked universities to work for package of practices of new varieties of plants and make vital information available to farmers. He said that extensive research should be done on new technology to help farmers to increase their produce and income. He also suggested that a delegation from Himachal Pradesh should go to leading countries in fruit market to study nursery management and new fruit plant varieties.

Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project Director Dinesh Malhotra said that the project of worth Rs. 1134 crores was started in 2016 and will be continue till 2023 in the state. He said that under the project, the farmers are being provided with high-breed and improved quality plants of apples, peaches, pears, walnuts etc through nurseries on affordable prices to increase the yield. Nursery Society will produce 24 lakhs plants of new varieties per year for orchardists. He said that Controlled Atmosphere Store (CA) and packaging houses are being strengthened in the state. Processing plants at Parwanoo and Jarol will be upgraded whereas a new plant will come up at Parala in Theog. 8 new marketing yards will be constructed whereas 8 marketing yards will be upgraded in the State.

Earlier, Task Team Leader and Senior Agricultural Specialist Manivannan Parthy apprised the present officials with various activities of the project. He showed satisfaction over one year progress of the project. He asked authorities to speed-up the implementation and target achievement in time. He also apprised that there is lack of staff in HPMC and Horticulture department.

Additional Chief Seretary Horticulture R.D. Dhiman, Secretary IPH R.N. Batta, Director Horticulture, GM HPMC, MD HP Marketing Board, Mission Members Mary Kathryn Hollifield, Chakib Jenane, Arvind Jhamb and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.