GUWAHATI, July 2 � Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today admitted that Assam has been suffering one of the worst ever flood in recent years and announced a Central grant of Rs 500 crore to the State to tide over the crisis. He also assured that additional funds would be given to Assam after receiving the report from the Central team, which is assessing the damages.
Addressing mediapersons at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport after assessing the flood situation in the State, Dr Singh said that the Centre would take medium and long term measures for the solution of the problems of flood and erosion.
Dr Singh said that he, along with the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi, made an aerial survey of the flood scene in Jorhat, Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts and saw the extensive damages caused. He said that the flood this time was one of the worst in recent times and caused considerable damage to infrastructure like roads, flood control projects etc. He expressed his sorrow at the death of 77 persons in floods and said that as per report given to him, five persons are still missing. He revealed that he has already announced ex gratia payment of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in floods from the Prime Minister�s Relief Fund.
The Prime Minister assured that there would be no shortage of essential commodities in Assam. He said that at present, the State has adequate stock of essentials and if necessary, the Centre would immediately rush additional essential commodities. He said that the Railway Ministry has taken adequate steps to restore the Railway like in Dima Hassao district so that the supply line to the Barak valley and Manipur can be restored as soon as possible.
Dr Singh said that the Central agencies are closely working with the Central Government for relief and rescue operations. He revealed that 16 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with 640 personnel and 71 boats are engaged in rescue and relief operations, while, the Army personnel are also engaged in it. They have so far rescued 4,000 marooned persons and distributed 20 tonnes of relief materials. He said that he is satisfied with the rescue and relief operations and at president, 4.85 lakh persons are staying in 768 relief camps.
The Prime Minister said that the restoration work would have to be started once the flood water recedes and a Central team arrived in the State today for a detailed assessment of the damages caused by floods. He assured that the Centre would provide adequate funds to the State for repairing the damages to the infrastructure caused by flood and erosion after receiving the report of the Central team. He also said that the Centre would also provide seeds to the farmers who suffered during the floods.
It may be mentioned here that after making the aerial survey of the flood hit districts of Jorhat, Dhemaji and Lakhimpur, the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson had a meeting with the Chief Minister, members of the Council of Ministers and senior officers of the State Government for an assessment of the flood situation in the LGBI airport before returning to New Delhi.