Kerala Cabinet takes measures to tide over monsoon havoc

The Cabinet on Tuesday decided to send an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and seek special assistance for the victims of the recent monsoon havoc in Idukki and other districts. The decision was taken on the basis of a consensus reached at an all-party meeting held earlier in the day.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after a Cabinet meeting that the compensation for damage to houses would be increased. It would go up from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh in the case of houses destroyed in landslips and heavy rain. Up to Rs.50,000 would be provided for damaged houses, depending on the extent of damage. The hike would have retrospective effect from June 1.

The Chief Minister said the Centre provided Rs.1.5 lakh as compensation to those who died in natural calamities. (The State government provides Rs.50,000 additionally.) The Prime Minister would be requested to provide assistance from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to increase this to Rs.2 lakh. While the next of kin of the deceased would get a total of Rs.2 lakh now, an additional amount would be sanctioned if the Prime Minister agrees to the State’s request. The delegation would go to Delhi after getting an appointment from the Prime Minister on a day convenient to the Opposition also.

Central team

Mr. Chandy said the Prime Minister would also be requested to send a Central team to assess the losses and include Ministers and experts in the team. The Chief Secretary had been asked to hold a conference of experts from the Centre for Earth Science Studies and the Department of Geology and engineers in charge of national highways to work out a plan for prevention and mitigation of havocs and report to the Cabinet for decisions. A road near the Idukki collectorate had sunk by 30 feet and Rs.6 crore would be needed to restore it. Such incidents raised concerns.

The Collectors had been asked to submit reports on damage to shops, crops, and wells so that decisions could be taken on assistance. Directions had been issued to take steps for providing drinking water to people affected by loss of wells. The government would meet the medical expenses of injured people undergoing treatment in private as well as government hospitals.

Posts sanctioned

He said the Cabinet had sanctioned 35 posts, including that of 11 doctors, for the Adimali taluk hospital. Though the community health centre there had been upgraded as taluk hospital, it was yet to get additional staff and facilities. The bed strength would be increased from 61 to 100. A 100-bed block would be built for this after demolishing some of the old buildings. The Cabinet approved a rough estimate of Rs.5 lakh for this. The old ambulance and X-ray unit would be replaced.

The primary health centre at Thiruvambadi in Kozhikode district would be upgraded as community health centre. Ministers M.K. Muneer, A.P. Anilkumar, and P.K. Jayalakshmi visited Thiruvambadi following the monsoon havoc there. The footbridge at Valara in Idukki district would be rebuilt.

He said the government would provide five acres in Ernakulam for locating a unit of the National Disaster Response Force in the State. The wife of the driver of the Devikulam taluk office who was killed in a landslip during duty would be given a job in government as a special case. He was holding a temporary post and hence did not come under the dying in harness scheme. The Cabinet would on Wednesday consider proposals for repair of roads damaged in heavy rain.

More In: Kerala | National