Home > News > Report
HP cloudburst toll: 24 or 150?
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
July 21, 2003 20:44 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2003 21:08 IST
There is no end to the confusion on the toll of last week's cloudburst in Himachal Pradesh -- and on Monday, the Lok Sabha secretariat added its own two bits to it.
In an obituary reference read by Speaker Manohar Joshi in the Lok Sabha on the opening day of the monsoon session, the number of dead in the Kullu tragedy was put at 'more than 150.'
Around the same time in Shimla, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was speaking in the assembly on the same subject and he said the confimed toll in the tragedy was 24.
So, who is right?
When rediff.com spoke to Resident Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh Renu Sahani Dhar, she said she had no idea from where the Parliament secretariat got that figure of 150.
"We received a fax from the office of Hulasi Ram, legislative officer of the Lok Sabha, on July 19, asking for details of those killed and injured in the Kullu cloudburst. My deputy, Mrs Priya Singh, faxed a letter saying that only 21 persons had lost their lives in the tragedy. I do not know from where the Lok Sabha secretariat picked up this figure of 150. I would take up the matter with the secretary general of the Lok Sabha and ensure that the figures are corrected," she said.
An official of the Lok Sabha said that the blame lies with the Himachal government for they failed to send the figures in time. "We got their fax only on July 21 around noon. By then the speaker had read out the obit reference," he said.
But where did the figure of 150 come from?
Nobody in the Parliament secretariat is willing to answer the question. According to a source, however, after the delay in the arrival of the details from the Himachal government, the secretariat referred to a few newspapers to arrive at the figure.
Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament from Hamirpur Suresh Chandel, meanwhile, has demanded a thorough probe into the manner in which the state government handled the cloudbrust tragedy.
He said the incident took place on July 16, but till date nobody is clear about the number of dead in the tragedy.