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ASSOCHAM seeks Rs 10,000 cr for rehabilitation work in Uttarakhand

7 July Dehradun: Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ASSOCHAM) on Sunday sought a special aid of Rs 10,000 crore from the Centre for rehabilitation and redevelopment work in disaster-hit Uttarakhand.

The demand is based on recommendation of an ASSOCHAM team which surveyed the affected areas in the worst-hit Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts to prepare an estimate of the devastation caused to infrastructure and villages by the recent natural calamity, ASSOCHAM secretary general DS Rawat told reporters here. Though it is difficult to assess the damage as hundreds of villages have been swept away and many are buried under debris, the losses must be somewhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 crore, Rawat said.

Asking the state government to learn lessons from the colossal tragedy, he said “No one is against development, but development at the cost of environment is unacceptable.”

Loss to the state’s GDP would be to the tune of over Rs 5,000 crore owing to decreased contribution from tourism and trade activities, which would be compounded owing to low demand for transport services in flood-affected areas, Rawat said citing findings of the ASSOCHAM team.

Tourism sector would also witness a direct employment loss of about 1,80,000 people. Industrial units in Uttarakhand, especially in these three affected districts are predominantly micro and small enterprises, he said, adding that indirect losses down the line in terms of distribution, marketing and sales will add to the direct job losses.

The ASSOCHAM report said approximate repairing cost of National Highways would be around Rs 6 crore.

Talking about the extent of road repair per village, cost involved in repairing panchayat roads will be approximately Rs 900 crore, the ASSOCHAM secretary general said.

Damages to road network in various sectors of the worst hit Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts are estimated to be around at least Rs 8,400 crore, he said.

Meanwhile, Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), a premier relief and development organisation in the country has transported relief material to nearly 700 affected families in the calamity hit districts of Chamoli, Uttarkashi, and Rudraprayag.

CASA’s plan in the near future is to provide shelter support, food, essential items, hygiene kit along with livelihood support to around 5,000 victims.

Midterm support would include shelter material, hygiene kit and livelihood support through “cash for work” to promote food security at household level, the spokesman added.

PTI

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