More funds to Kerala after assessment of damages: Centre

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New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Amid the ongoing controversy over government’s refusal to accept foreign donations for flood-ravaged Kerala, the Centre on Thursday said the release of Rs 600 crore by it was just advance assistance and additional funds would be released after the assessment of flood damage.

“It is clarified that Rs 600 crore released by Centre is the advance assistance only. Additional funds would be released from NDRF (National Disaster Response Fund) on assessment of the damages as per laid down procedure,” said a statement issued by the Home Ministry.

It said the assistance was in addition to Rs 562.45 crore, which was already contributed by Centre in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

“In addition to the financial support, Centre has made available large quantities of emergency food, water, medicines and other essential supplies, including additional allocation of food grains, as requested by the state,” it said.

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The ministry said normal rules and procedures were set aside in view of emergency nature of the requirement in Kerala while supplying these materials.

It further mentioned the measures announced from different schemes such as ex-gratia payments from Prime Minister’s National Relief Funds (PMNRF); building of damaged houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY); additional 5.5 crore person days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS); national agencies such as NHAI, NTPC and PGCIL to assist the state in repairing national highways and restoring power.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary, monitored and coordinated rescue and relief operations by holding daily meetings from Aug 16-21.

The ministry said over 60,000 human lives were saved in the rescue operations that were carried out using 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 182 teams, 18 Medical Teams of Defence forces, 58 teams of NDRF, 7 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) and over 500 boats.

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“The search and rescue operations and mobilisation of resources alone would cost the Centre hundreds of crore of rupees,” it said.

–IANS

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