State to submit fresh memorandum seeking aid on August 1

The State government will submit on August 1 a revised memorandum to the Union government seeking assistance for flood relief and payment of compensation for losses in natural calamities.

This was announced after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan, Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan, Revenue Secretary T.J. Mathew, and other officials held discussions with the visiting inter-ministerial Central team for monsoon calamity assessment here on Tuesday morning.

The team leader Vumlunmang Vualnam, Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, told presspersons after the discussions that the team would prepare its report soon after receipt of the final memorandum from the State government. Though the team could not visit all the districts, the members of the team could understand the severity of the damage caused by the monsoon from what they had seen.

On the complaint about inadequacy of Central norms on release of funds for disaster management, Mr. Vualnam said it was not the mandate of the team to look at the norms. The Central assistance was purported to be only a help for immediate relief work, besides payment of compensation for loss of crops, as per standing norms.

Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash told the media that unlike in the past, the Central team had visited the State during the monsoon itself, thanks to the intervention of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran. It could obtain first-hand information from Kuttanad where 2.5 lakh people had been displaced temporarily. The loss from damage to agriculture crops across the State alone came to Rs.480 crore. The revised memorandum would reflect this and other losses incurred after the submission of the preliminary memorandum.

He said the State had sought an assistance of Rs.481 crore in the preliminary memorandum. However, it could claim only Rs.221 crore under the Central norms. The State government had been demanding that the losses for sea erosion and lightning should also be considered for Central assistance.

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