Staff Reporter

‘We convinced team about rain damage’

Team wanted detailed statistics

Absence of State Ministers felt

ALAPPUZHA: The long-awaited, much-talked-about visit of the high-level team deputed by the Union Government is over. And for the Alappuzha district administration, that means a huge sigh of relief.

“We have been able to convince the Central team that the damage to Alappuzha due to the unexpected summer rains was indeed heavy,” District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan said. There were a few moments of discomfort for the district officials when team member K. Manoharan demanded detailed statistics of farmers based on complete damage, 50 per cent damage and damage on a lesser extent.

Mr. Manoharan also wanted the details of implementation of the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) after Mr. Balakrishnan had requested an extension of the scheme to April 31, citing the inability to complete several works under the scheme due to the rains. The officials asked for time, saying that though they had the statistics with them, the figures had to be separated from the entire lot.

“We were able to give the clarifications they asked for during the second meeting at Mankombu. And I believe they were satisfied,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.

Earlier, the absence of State ministers, particularly Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran and that of district in-charge minister G. Sudhakaran, was felt during the visit. However, there was no shortage of dignitaries to accompany the team.

Apart from Mr. Balakrishnan and his team of officials from the Revenue and Agriculture departments, Alappuzha MP, K.S. Manoj, Idukki MP, Francis George, Thomas Chandy, K.C. Venugopal, B. Babu Prasad, K.K. Shaju, P. Thilothaman and P.C. Vishnunath, MLAs and Kerala Agriculture University vice-chancellor K.R. Viswambharan visited the paddy fields along with the team.

Kottayam Collector Sharmila Mary Joseph and Ettumannoor MLA, Thomas Chazhikadan, met the team during the meeting at the Rice Research Centre, Mankombu.