Kerala Floods: PM Modi conducts aerial survey, announces financial aid

Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected Kerala. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to those seriously injured, from PM’s National Relief Funds (PMNRF).

Earlier in the day, in a review meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister KJ Alphons and other officials, the Prime Minister also announced Rs 500 crore as an immediate aid for Kerala, in addition to the 100 crore announced on August 12.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister expressed grief over the unfortunate deaths and damages caused in the floods and assured the State Government of sufficient relief material.

Prime Minister Modi directed Insurance Companies to hold special camps for assessment and timely release of compensation to the affected families and beneficiaries, under Social Security Schemes. Directions have also been issued for early clearance of claims under Fasal Bima Yojna to agriculturists.

He further directed National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to repair main national highways, damaged due to floods, on priority. Central Public Sector like NTPC and Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) have also been directed to be available to render all possible assistance to the State Government in restoring power lines.

Further giving details on the schemes and their benefits, the meeting has decided on- villagers, whose houses have been destroyed in the floods, would be provided houses on priority under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin. Under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, farmers would be provided assistance for replantation of damaged horticulture crops.

On the direction of the Prime Minister Modi, Kiren Rijiju, MoS (Home), accompanied by K.J. Alphons, MoS (I/C), and a high-level Central Team visited the flood affected districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam on July 21 and reviewed the flood situation there and provided relief measures.

On August 12, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with other leaders carried out an aerial survey of the affected areas and reviewed the search, rescue and relief measures taken by the State and Central Government agencies. The Home Minister then announced release of Rs. 100 crore in advance, from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

An Inter-Ministerial Centre Team (IMCT) has already visited the affected areas in Kerala for assessment of losses from August 7-12 as per the Memorandum submitted by the state government.

Currently, 57 teams of NDRF involving about 1,300 personnel and 435 boats are deployed for search and rescue operations. Five companies of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in the state to carry out rescue and relief measures.

The Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are also deployed for assisting the state in search and rescue operations. A total of 38 helicopters have been deployed for rescue and relief measures. In addition, 20 aircraft are also being used for ferrying resources. Army has deployed 10 columns and 10 Teams of Engineering Task Force (ETFs) involving around 790 trained personnel’s. While, Navy is providing 82 teams; the Coast Guard has provided 42 teams with two helicopters and two ships.

Since August 9, the NDRF, Army and Navy together have rescued /evacuated 6714 persons and provided medical assistance to 891 persons.

The Prime Minister complimented the state government for the efforts made in meeting the challenges of the unprecedented situation. He observed that rescue of people, who are still marooned, remains the topmost priority.

Government of India will continue to support the state government in all its endeavours. (ANI)