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52 casualties confirmed in Ghanvi cloud burst

Kanwar Yogendra

GHANVI (Himachal Pradesh): The officials in Kinnaur confirmed that there were at least 52 people present in Bhavi village in Ghanvi, when a severe cloud burst occurred on Tuesday evening.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who did an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Wednesday, said his Government has declared immediate relief to the affected families. While talking to the reporters on board, he said the exact losses could not be assessed so far but the Government aid would provide a permanent rehabilitation package.

He informed that a number of apple orchards in Karcham area of this district were washed away after cloud bursts and flash floods in the anterior regions.

Without waiting for any help from the Centre, the State Government would provide help , he maintained.

Houses washed away

The Chief Minister said at least 15 houses, a primary health centre and a school building were washed away in the cloud burst. An immediate relief of Rs 1.7 lakh was disbursed to the affected people, said Mr. Singh.

The dead includes 30 women and 22 men, including eight school girls and two school boys. Only eight bodies have been recovered so far. Others were feared washed away in the Sutlej, said the neighbouring villagers. The Army was deployed for rescue operations. The ITBP and Army personnel were doing the rescue operation in the area with the help of villagers.

Earlier, the Chief Minister during his tour in Sangla valley expressed concern over loss of property in the village and assured that the State Government would soon formulate a plan for their rehabilitation besides providing them necessary relief as per the revised Relief Manual and also sanctioned additional funds for the same.

He said that cloud burst area would be reclaimed and possibilities would be explored if the land was fit for the re-plantation of apple trees.

He said that services of specialists would be requisitioned to advise the Government on initiation of steps to save further erosion of land. He said new forests would be planted in the area and affected families would be allotted alternate land in consultation with the affected families and public representatives.

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