Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grief over the loss of life and property in the flash floods in Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and announced an ex-gratia relief of one lakh rupees each to the kin of the deceased.

“The Prime Minister is grieved to learn about the loss of life and property in the flash floods which hit Leh after a cloud burst” last night, a PMO statement said.

He announced an ex-gratia relief from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund of one lakh rupees each to the kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 each to the seriously injured, it said.

Flash floods struck Leh last night killing 59 people.

A Defence Ministry spokesperson said the prime minister has asked the ministry to ensure prompt assistance to the Leh cloudburst victims.

Defence Minister A. K. Antony is personally monitoring the operations, he said.

The Defence Ministry was also coordinating with the Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide targeted assistance to the civil administration in the relief and rescue efforts, he said, adding the Army, Air Force and DRDO establishments in Leh were actively involved in the process.

A tri-service crisis management group meeting has also been scheduled later today to work out the detailed assistance package to the victims, the spokesperson said, noting that Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and assured him of all help.

The Air Force, on its part, was working to make the Leh runway, which is covered with six inches of slush following the cloudburst, operational by the evening.

Air Force aircraft were on the standby at Chandigarh, Thoise and Udhampur to fly into Leh after clearance of the runway, he said.