Rain havoc in Himachal Pradesh: Death toll hits 74, 2 bodies recovered from temple rubble.

The situation in rain-ravaged Himachal Pradesh has taken a somber turn, with the death toll surging to 74 as of August 17. Officials have confirmed the discovery of another body amid the wreckage of a Shiva temple, shedding light on the extent of the devastation. A substantial number of these fatalities, 21 to be precise, were the result of catastrophic landslides in the Shimla area, affecting locations such as the Shiva temple in Summer Hill, Fagli, and Krishnanagar. Perturbing concerns have arisen as eight individuals remain potentially trapped beneath the debris of the temple.

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In an unfortunate incident linked to the Summer Hill landslide in Shimla, the lifeless body of P. L. Sharma, an esteemed figure as the head of the Mathematics department at Himachal Pradesh University, was retrieved on August 16. Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi, as cited by PTI, has confirmed this grim discovery. Additionally, Chamba district bore witness to two more rain-related fatalities – one caused by a fall from a height and the other due to drowning. These unfortunate events collectively contribute to a disheartening total of 74 deaths over the span of four days, as disclosed by the state emergency operation centre.

Over the course of the last three days, the ferocious downpour has gradually subsided, giving way to more manageable showers in certain areas. Tragically, since the onset of the monsoon season on June 24, a staggering 217 individuals have lost their lives due to rain-induced calamities in Himachal Pradesh.

Rescue efforts persist tirelessly at the landslide sites within Shimla. Collaborative endeavors involving the Indian Army, Air Force, and other dedicated personnel have led to the successful evacuation of 309 individuals from flood-stricken regions such as Kangra district’s Fatehpur and Pong Dam in Indora. Impressively, a grand total of 2,074 people have been rescued in the course of the past three days.

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the Chief Minister, personally visited the areas devastated by the floods, providing much-needed reassurance to the beleaguered residents of the government’s unwavering support. As the losses stemming from the ongoing monsoon season reach an estimated sum of around 7,500 crore, Principal Secretary (Revenue) Onkar Chand Sharma paints a disheartening picture of the extent of the damage.

In light of the severity of the situation, schools within the confines of Shimla city remained shuttered on Thursday. An alarming tally of 875 roads lie blocked, with a substantial 1,135 transformers and 285 water supply schemes rendered dysfunctional.

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu expressed a sobering realization that the process of rebuilding the infrastructure, which has been severely battered by the relentless rains, could potentially span an entire year. This insight was gathered from a report by PTI. Furthermore, his estimations indicate that the cumulative losses resulting from the recent back-to-back heavy rain episodes might reach a staggering ₹10,000 crore. Nonetheless, the government is resolute in its commitment to expedite the restoration efforts, aiming to fully reinstate the infrastructure within the span of a year.

Vikramaditya Singh also weighed in, revealing that the central government has greenlit a substantial sum of ₹2,643 crore to be allocated for the upgrade of 254 rural roads within this fiscal year through the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

In a bid to streamline the relief endeavors, the state government has decided to ease the stipulations governing the utilization of the MLA local area development fund. This entails that MLAs are now permitted to allocate a sum of ₹2.10 crore annually for pivotal projects such as the construction of retaining walls and the channelization of watercourses.

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