Dehradun: Seeking liberal funding from the Centre to address the situation in calamity-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Harish Rawat has demanded an additional assistance of Rs 4,000 crore for carrying out the third phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rawat has said the task of reconstructing the infrastructure and rehabilitating the affected population was enormous and impossible to achieve without liberal funding from the Centre, an official release said here today.
“It is therefore requested that an additional grant of Rs 4000 crore be sanctioned to the state for prompt, speedy, environment-friendly reconstruction and restoration work in the state and for reviving its economy,” the Chief Minister said in the letter, a copy of which was circulated to the press here.
In the 11-page letter, Rawat also spoke of the huge blow dealt by the unprecedented tragedy to tourism which is central to the state’s economy and the massive evacuation and reconstruction exercise undertaken by the state government in tandem with the military and paramilitary forces.
A vast network of roads and bridges have to be rebuilt and over 200 villages need to be rehabilitated to put life back on track in the affected areas, he said adding that the mission cannot be accomplished without a generous helping hand from the Centre.
“We face the uphill task of rehabilitating more than 200 villages. The task becomes all the more difficult given the fact that 65 per cent of our land is classified as forest land which cannot be diverted to non-forest use. We do not have revenue land either. The forest land would therefore be needed for rehabilitation purposes,” Rawat said.
Demanding that all land transfer issues be fast-tracked to speed up the rehabilitation process, the Chief Minister said the state government will be obliged if the power of transferring such land is delegated to it.
“Though the ‘chaar dham yatra’ route has been restored toa large extent and the annual pilgrimage to the four Himalayan shrines is going on smoothly this year, so much more still needs to be done to help things get back to normal along the pilgrimage route which suffered massive devastation,” Rawat said.
“Realising the plan of redeveloping Kedarnath, as also other parts of the state in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner, reviving the economy of the state and restoring the confidence of tourists and pilgrims will require massive investment,” he said.