The cumulative death toll from rains, floods and landslides in Himachal Pradesh since the start of the monsoon on June 24 has now reached 223, said state revenue minister Jagat Singh Negi on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu is overseeing the restoration works that are underway across different parts of the state, ANI quoted Negi as saying.
Negi mentioned that most parts of the state have been deemed safe for tourists now and is open for visiting after restoration works.
The Kalka-Shimla National Highway has also been restored to traffic, informed the revenue minister.
He said, "The chief minister is monitoring the ongoing work for restoration and road connectivity. The movement of traffic on the Kalka Shimla National Highway has been restored. It has been opened for buses. However, trucks are still not allowed to ply."
"So far, 223 people have lost their lives in Himachal Pradesh and 295 have been injured. As many as 800 houses have also been damaged completely, while another 7500 houses have been partially been damaged. Scores of local bodies, schools and community centres have also been damaged,” added Negi.
He further said that apple and other local produce and crops will be transported to the markets without any hassle.
“The apple harvesting season is running a month late this year due to continuous rain. The produce is estimated to be lower than the previous year. However, from the lower-altitude regions of the state, the apples have almost reached the market as the roads are now open and restored. We are working on a war footing to ensure that the produce reach the markets,” Negi said.
Further, he said as per a new government policy, apples and other fruits were being sold in accordance with their weight.
“We have made it clear that the fruits will be sold on the basis of their weight and we are ensuring that there are no violations to this. We have deputed our sub-divisional officers to streamline this process and the SDMs and Tehsildars have been given powers under APMC Act to deal with violations, if any. The director of horticulture and a team from Agriculture Marketing Produce Corporation are also touring the markets in the state to assess the situation," said Jagat Singh.