District administration asks Army to help at two places

Rain became almost unwelcome in the arid and semi-arid Rajasthan on Friday with more showers pounding as many as a dozen districts in the State for the fourth day when the Army was called out to help the civic authorities in relief operations in two places.

The death toll in rain-related accidents climbed to 33 in 12 districts. Out of this, drowning incidents alone accounted for 23. Seven other deaths, the authorities here said, were caused by building collapse, two due to electrocution and one when lightning struck.

Jaipur reported the highest number of deaths — 10 — followed by four deaths in Sikar, three deaths each in Bhilwara and Churu and two each in the districts of Bharatpur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, Alwar and Dholpur. Tonk, Ajmer and Jhunjhunu accounted for one death each.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who held a high-level review meeting of officials here, raised the relief amount for the families of the victims to Rs.2 lakh from Rs.1.5 lakh given earlier. The additional Rs.50,000 will be given from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Mr. Gehlot also sanctioned Rs.2.64 crore for relief operations. Out of this, Rs.1.5 crore will be given to Ajmer district, while Jaipur will get Rs.65 lakh and Sikar Rs.51.66 lakh.

Mr. Gehlot instructed the Collectors of the affected districts to start relief camps for the cattle too. Health authorities have been asked to carry out spraying to prevent malaria.

Chief Secretary C.K. Mathew, who held video conferences with the Collectors of the affected districts, asked them to get water out of the inundated areas with the help of pumps and repair the drainage and sewerage systems.

He also termed the situation in the Walled City area of Jaipur “normal”.

The Army was deployed in Madrampura, a slum settlement not far from Jaipur’s Sanganer airport, and in Laxmangarh tehsil in Sikar district after a request from the civil administration.

Soldiers of the Army’s Jaipur-based South Western Command were rushed to both the areas during the day.

Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva had visited Madrampura the previous day along with the local MP and the Jaipur Mayor.

The Army carried relief stores along with 10,000 sand bags and 10 water pumps to drain the water from the inundated areas of Madrampura.

Defence spokesperson S.D. Goswami said additional flood relief columns of the Army have been placed in affected areas to be deployed as and when requisitioned.

“The flood relief columns comprise professionally-trained troops in execution of all types of conceivable rescue and relief tasks along with the requisite equipment, medical team and other support elements of the Army,” Col. Goswami said.

While rain havoc extended to as many as 12 districts, it did not rain in Jaipur during the day, enabling the authorities as well as the residents of the affected colonies to carry out relief as well as clearing operations.

Schools in the city opened after a two-day gap.