PM announces Rs 500 cr assistance

From Our Correspondent

 Guwahati: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday announced an ad-hoc financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to flood-ravaged Assam, where floods and landslides have claimed 81 lives so far.

The PM made the announcement here after making an extensive aerial survey of flood induced damages in three districts of Assam – Jorhat, North Lakhimpur and Dhemaji — along with the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Dr Singh said a final financial package would be announced for the flood-ravaged State after receiving reports from the Central Government teams engaged in making assessment of the extent of flood damage in the State.

“A Central team has already reached the State already and another team will come soon to make proper assessment of damaged caused by the flood. They will assess the damage caused to roads, bridges, government buildings, supply links etc. and submit a report ,” Dr Singh told the media here in the airport before leaving for New Delhi.

The current wave of floods has claimed 65 lives in the state so far, while another 16 have been killed so far in landslides in the state.

The floods have affected 27 districts of the state, with landslides reported from three districts of Kamrup (metro), Dima Hasao and Cachar districts.

The Prime Minister said as on date the focus was on rescuing marooned people, “The NDRF has deployed 16 teams comprising 640 personnel and 71 boats while the Army has deployed 752 personnel in relief and rescue operations.

As many as 4,000 persons have been rescued and 20 tons of relief material has been airlifted by the Air Force while over 4.84 lakh people have taken shelter in the 768 relief camps set up across the State.”

The Prime Minister said that the State government had adequate stock of food grains and essentials and the Centre would move in additional supplies prompt, if required.

He assured that the Ministry of Railway would take immediate steps to restore the stretch of railway tracks damaged by landslides cutting off links to Barak Valley in South Assam , Tripura and Mizoram.

The Prime Minister said that after the relief and rescue operations were taken care of, the focus of the government would shift to restoration of damages caused by the flood to infrastructure and property.

The PM also held a meeting with the officials of the State and some of the senior ministers in the airport after carrying out the flood ravage survey from the air.

He said the Centre was working closely with the State government at this time of crisis.

Meanwhile, the River Brahmaputra was still flowing above the danger level at Nematighat (Jorhat) , Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri, while it’s tributary Kopili was flowing over the red mark at Dharamtul in Morigaon district.

Nearly 20 lakh population in over 2000 villages has been affected while total of 6,57,558 hectares of crop land have been submerged so far.

The state government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs1.50 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased person, while the chief minister has also announced Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased person from CM’s Relief Fund.

At least 42 breaches in embankments involving Brahmaputra and 14 other tributaries and one breach by Longai river in Barak Valley have been reported. (With inputs from UNI)

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