PM may announce flood relief for State tomorrow

PMO sources told Deccan Herald on Thursday that the PM would meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee before leaving for a two-day survey of the flood-affected areas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on Friday morning.

The two leaders are likely to come to a conclusion on the amount of funds to be released to the two states. The Prime Minister has already been briefed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar on the enormity of the flood situation in the two southern states.
Singh will first arrive in Hyderabad, do an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts and hold a review meeting with the Andhra Pradesh government on Friday evening. After staying overnight in Hyderabad, he will arrive in Raichur on Saturday, conduct an aerial survey and hold a review meeting with the Karnataka government. He will address the media in both Hyderabad and Raichur. He will not visit Bangalore.

Although the Centre has made no flood relief announcement so far, on the directions of Mukherjee, the expenditure department of the finance ministry was on Thursday said to have held a meeting with top officials of the RBI on the requirement and release of funds to the two states.

Karnataka on Thursday appealed to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to release an ad hoc amount of Rs 3000 crore in view of the sheer scale of the calamity. Home Minister V S Acharya informed Chidambaram about the huge requirement of funds and the immediate assistance from the Centre. Karnataka has already sought an interim relief of Rs 10,000 crore saying that the total requirement would exceed Rs 20,000 crore.
Chidambaram assured Acharya that the Centre would not lag behind in offering help and added that he had spoken to the Union food secretary to immediately release food grain to the two states. Karnataka has sought 30,000 metric tonnes of rice, wheat and sugar and 20,000 kilolitres of kerosene. The Centre on Thursday released 5,000 kilolitres of kerosene to the State.

Chidambaram told Acharya that the Centre was ready to despatch a team of officials to assess the situation in the state. “You should be ready to receive the team.”
However, Acharya and State representative V Dhananjaya Kumar pointed out that while there was no point in officials carrying out an aerial survey, it may be difficult for the Central team to visit the affected areas by road to study the ground situation.

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