PM announces Rs 500-cr relief for flood-hit Kerala

PM announces Rs 500-cr relief for flood-hit Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducts an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in Kerala on Saturday. PTI

The Centre on Saturday announced additional financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to flood-ravaged Kerala.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the relief in Kochi after a review meeting on the flood situation and ongoing relief work. The prime minister, along with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, also conducted an aerial survey of some of the affected regions. The aerial survey was initially aborted due to inclement weather.

The State Government, based on a preliminary assessment, has estimated a loss of Rs 19,512 crore and sought immediate relief of Rs 2,000 crore from the Centre. The state government has been demanding a special relief package in the wake of the floods. Since rain started to pound Kerala in the deadliest spell of the southwest monsoon, there has been a demand from the state to the Centre, to declare the floods a national disaster. Congress president Rahul Gandhi backed the demand. “Please declare Kerala floods a national disaster without any delay. The lives, livelihood and future of millions of our people is at stake,” he said in a tweet addressed to the prime minister, on Saturday.

The prime minister announced ex-gratia of Rs two lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for those seriously injured. He also directed the National Highway Authority of India to repair national highways that were damaged due to the floods. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had, on August 12, announced relief of Rs 100 crore to the state.

“Army has deployed 10 Columns and 10 Teams of Engineering Task Force (ETFs) involving around 790 trained personnel. Navy is providing 82 teams. The Coast Guard has provided 42 teams; 2 helicopters and 2 ships,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

The prime minister directed insurance companies to hold special camps for assessment and prompt release of compensation to the affected families and beneficiaries, under social security schemes.