Sikkim flash floods: State cabinet approves construction of 4100 houses worth over Rs 800 crore

Sikkim flash floods: State cabinet approves construction of 4100 houses worth over Rs 800 crore

The state cabinet has decided to provide rent aid to those victims residing in the Relief Camp for three months to facilitate their return to rented accommodations.

State cabinet approves construction of 4100 houses worth over Rs 800 crore State cabinet approves construction of 4100 houses worth over Rs 800 crore

The state cabinet has decided to provide rent aid to those victims residing in the Relief Camp. This aid, meant to cover a period of three months, aims to facilitate their return to rented accommodations. 

The decision is a part of the cabinet's strategy to ensure the well-being of the victims who were displaced due to unforeseen circumstances.

A meeting of the State Cabinet was held on 17th October 2023 in the Cabinet Hall of Tashiling Secretariat, Gangtok. 

A total of 205 Agenda items were discussed during the meeting and many important decisions were taken. 

I. The Cabinet also adopted a Resolution in the wake of the unprecedented natural disaster caused by flash floods in river Teesta on 4th October, 2023 which has caused massive loss of life, livelihood and property of the people living along the banks of the river. The entire Sikkimese society is mourning the loss of precious lives in this catastrophe. The Council of Ministers expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support received from the people, the Government of India, other State Governments and Organizations during this hour of need. 

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The following Resolution was adopted, namely:-

“The Council of Ministers noted with heavy hearts the profound loss of lives, livelihood, property and some major critical infrastructure in the wake of devastating flash floods on 4th October 2023. During this hour of grief, the State Government stands by the people of Sikkim and commits itself to ensuring all help and support to enable the affected people to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. The Council of Ministers also expressed their deep condolences to the bereaved families of people who lost their lives in this catastrophe. We would also like to put on record the incredible solidarity shown by the Sikkimese society at this hour of need and acknowledge the contribution of each and every individual and Organisation who is working tirelessly to support the State administration in surmounting this grave challenge. The contribution of all these Heroes is the bricks by which We will rebuild our State and come out of this catastrophe ‘Together’ and ‘Stronger’. 

We urge the people of Sikkim to be strong and resilient at this hour and remain positive.”

Following the adoption of this Resolution 2 (two) minute’s silence was observed in memory of the people who lost their lives during this disaster. 

a. The Cabinet has also decided to introduce some interventions to alleviate the loss and suffering faced by the people affected by the catastrophic flashfloods of October 4, 2023, and felt that one of the basic needs to be fulfilled by the Government is to provide them with a proper place to live in order to enable them to carry on with their life and livelihood.

b. With this objective, the Cabinet introduced two new Housing Schemes as follows:

• Sikkim Punarvaas Awaas Yojana

• Sikkim Janta Housing Colony

c. Under the “Sikkim Punarvaas Awaas Yojana”, 2100 houses will be constructed, in a safe and suitable location, and allotted to the owners of houses that have been totally washed away in the Teesta Flash Floods and owners of houses that have been severely/partially damaged by the floods and are no more inhabitable. The Government would construct these houses on Government land or land donated/acquired for this purpose.

d. Under the “Sikkim Janta Housing Colony”, 2000 Houses will be constructed in a safe and suitable location, to rehabilitate the tenants of houses that have been totally washed away in the Teesta Flash Floods and tenants of houses that have been severely/partially damaged by the floods and are no more inhabitable. These tenants would be allotted houses under this scheme on a “Rental basis”. However, no rent would be charged by the Government for the first three years of allotment. On completion of three years, rent, as assessed by the government, shall be payable by the allottees.

e. The severely/partially damaged houses would be inspected by a Technical Team which would assess the stability of these houses and certify whether these houses are habitable or not.

f. In order to be eligible for both these schemes, the beneficiaries should be in possession of a Sikkim Subject Certificate or Certificate of Identification or Parcha of landed property anywhere in Sikkim, Voter Card or Residential Certificate of Sikkim.

g. The construction of houses under the above-mentioned schemes would follow the same design and estimate of Sikkim Garib Awaas Yojana, and the ongoing scheme of the Government.

3. For immediate support and assistance to the owners of such houses mentioned above and the tenants who were staying in those houses, the Government would consider granting rent for three months @ Rs. 5000/- per month to enable the victims at the Relief Camp to move to a rented accommodation and get back to normalcy at the earliest.

4. In addition, the Government would provide basic household items like kitchen utensils, gas stoves, gas cylinders, mattresses, blankets and other daily household items to help the victims settle down in the rented accommodation.

5. Since there will be an acute demand for rented accommodation in the affected areas, the State Government appeals to all the house owners in these areas to not to increase the rental charges beyond the normal market rate. Action will be taken under the Disaster Management Act against those house owners who charge exorbitant rent in this hour of crisis.

6. After clearance of debris and muck in the affected areas the Building & Housing Department will carry out a stability study to verify and confirm whether the damaged houses are fit for habitation or not.

7. Similarly, the Roads & Bridges Department along with the Rural Development Department and Border Road Organization (BRO) will carry out a study to know the stability of the bridges that are affected by the flashflood, in order to take up the required repair works.

8. The District Collectors will set up camps at the affected areas for issue of Voter Card, Adhar Card, Land Parcha, Ration Card, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Identification, Community Certificate, Trade License etc. for those victims who have lost these documents in the flood.

9. In order to support the students who have lost all their belonging in Flash Flood in Teesta River, the Government would provide a one-time grant of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand) per students who have been genuinely affected by the Flash Flood for purchase of new uniform and notebooks. The new textbooks will be provided by the Education Department.

10. The Cabinet was also pleased to grant administrative approval and financial sanction of Rs. 881,91,00,000/- (Rupees Eight Hundred and Eighty-One Crore and Ninety–One Lakh Only) towards the Construction of 2100 Houses under “Punarvaas Awaas Yojana” and 2000 Houses under “Janta Housing Colony” for the victims of Flash Floods in Teesta River which will be implemented by Rural Development Department. 

11. The Cabinet has also taken a decision to constitute a technical committee of eminent scientists of the country comprising of Glaciologist, Geologist, Seismologist, Hydrologist etc. in consultation with NDMA. The committee shall look into the causes of the recent disaster that struck the state. Further, the committee shall undertake necessary investigation and suggest further course of action to the government. Since, the state has a large number of glacial lakes and some are reported to be increasing in its size, the committee shall also suggest a comprehensive plan of action for its management, in view of the recent disaster. 

12. The Cabinet also directed the Chief Secretary to immediately convene the State Level Bankers Committee Meeting and to ensure that Circular dated 17.10.2018 of the RBI on Relief Measures by Banks in areas affected by natural calamities is implemented in letter and spirit. 

13. The Cabinet also decided to confer a Special State Bravery Award for the bravery and courage shown by Dr. Pema Tenzing Bhutia and Dawa Tshering Lepcha during the catastrophic flash floods of 4th October, 2023. Their bravery and commitment to the welfare of fellow citizens has saved many lives and the State is forever indebted to these brave hearts. This Award will be conferred during a suitable occasion befitting the stature of this highest commendation. The Cabinet also directed to further recommend their names to Government of India for suitable and appropriate award for their act of bravery.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Oct 18, 2023