Leh: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday announced a Rs 125 crore relief packaged for the Leh cloudburst victims and said all houses destroyed by the natural calamity will be reconstructed within the next two-and-a-half months.
Singh, who arrived here on a day-long visit to take stock of relief and rehabilitation undertaken in the aftermath of flash floods in this mountainous region, said that the relief will be given from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.
The Prime Minister said that houses destroyed in the Leh cloudburst will be rebuilt within the next two-and-a-half months and funds will not be a problem.
"Hospital, school, electricity connections and roads will be rebuilt and all rehabilitation works will be completed within the next two-and-a-half months and before the onset of winter. Funds will not be a problem," he said.
Singh said many lives have been lost during the tragedy which is irreparable but the Central and Jammu and Kashmir governments will take all possible measures to help the bereaved families.
The Prime Minister said a monitoring committee under the chairmanship of state Chief Secretary will be constituted to ensure effective implementation of various schemes for the affected people.
"Before the onset of winter, I will again visit you and inspect the houses that will be constructed for you," he said.
Singh also held a meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and state officials to discuss the steps being taken for the relief and rehabilitation measures.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Saifuddin Soz.
The Prime Minister had promised in his Independence Day address that every possible effort would be made to provide relief to those hit by the calamity.
Singh had earlier announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured from the PM's National Relief Fund.
With tears in their eyes, women and children narrated their woes to Singh who gave them a patient hearing during his visit to a relief camp set up for cloudburst and flash flood victims.
Accompanied by senior Cabinet colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farooq Abdullah and state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Singh went to the worst-hit Choglamsar area, nearly 12 kms from town, by road.
The Prime Minister went straight to a relief camp set up for the villagers where women and children gathered around him. Wailing women conveyed their problems to the Prime Minister with state Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora acting as a translator.
Singh gave a patient hearing to the people and assured them of all possible help from his side in this calamity which has so far claimed nearly 200 lives. He assured them that all the houses will be built withing two months and money "will not be a problem." He was briefed by locals about the extent of damage in the village and nearby areas.
The jawans of ITBP, BRO personnel and Army were seen trying to clear debris from the damaged roads, connecting the villages with the town area, which was hit by nature's fury on August 6.
Azad urged the local youths to participate in the rebuilding process as getting labour from outside could delay the work due to the acclimatisation issue relating to the outsiders.
Security personnel had ensured that the Prime Minister's visit had no impact on the daily routine of the villagers as shops were not closed and people were seen lined up alongside the road to welcome Singh. PTI