Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rs. 3,500 crore Required to Rebuild Sikkim

GANGTOK, 19 Oct: The State government has submitted a memorandum to the Central government detailing its earthquake damage estimates and rebuilding costs. Officials however inform that the memorandum is not a comprehensive estimate of the total damages incurred by Sikkim, but an estimate of the immediate and short term measures of repair and rehabilitation as required by the Central government. The short term rehabilitation estimate put up by the State comes to approximately Rs. 3,500 crores inform officials while refraining from divulging the exact amount or its detailed break-up. This total, it is informed, includes the cost for immediate restoration and rehabilitation works being undertaken by the line departments. As for the long term rebuilding plans of the State government, these, it is informed, that this will be included as part of the annual plan proposal of the state. These are those works which take a longer time for implementation and are usually undertaken in phases. It is informed that the estimates and proposals for the long-term rebuilding and repair works are required to be put up in the plan budget proposal to be submitted to the Planning Commission which will subsequently release the moneys as part of the annual state plan. All departments have been directed to put up their long term rebuilding proposals to the State government by 30 October. The departments are currently engaged in preparing their project proposals for this purpose. Earlier, the state government had put up a figure of between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 7,000 crore to the Centre as the estimate of total damage incurred by the State due to the earthquake. This total amount also included the present memorandum for Rs. 3,500 crore put up for immediate rehabilitation, it is informed. As per the directions of the Central government, the state had to put up a lump-sum figure as a memorandum for the immediate restoration and rehabilitation works, particularly those to be undertaken by the line departments. This includes the immediate need for restoration of damaged water supply lines across the State by the Water Supply & PHE Department, the restoration of power supply; the restoration of road network [by the Roads and Bridges department] and also the rehabilitation of students in classrooms where school buildings had been damaged, among others. Senior officers are expected to leave for New Delhi shortly to take up discussions with central officials over the memorandum and other related matters such as whether the earlier Rs. 1,000 crore interim relief declared by the Prime Minister would be part of the total disbursement of the central government for the short term rehabilitation measures. The break up for each of the department from the estimate of Rs. 3,500 crore will also be clear after discussions with central officials. It was just last week that the Chief Secretary had chaired a meeting of heads of various departments in order to prepare the memorandum cataloguing the total rehabilitation costs of each department. This was done soon after the central assessment team had completed their tour of affected areas.

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