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`Rs.1,441-crore tsunami aid finalised'

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran  

Staff Reporter

17,000 families living in coastal areas will be shifted, says K.P. Rajendran

KANNUR: A Rs.1,441.75-crore special aid package for nine coastal districts in the State has been finalised under a tsunami rehabilitation scheme.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Saturday, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said the rehabilitation scheme submitted to the Central Government was cleared on January 27. Apart from this, the State Government has also been granted an assistance of Rs.12 crore by the Maharashtra Government. Another Rs.16 crore has been sanctioned by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the second anniversary of the tsunami, he added.

Mr. Rajendran said the State Government would give priority to shifting nearly 17,000 families living in coastal areas facing sea erosion. Political parties and district administration officials would be involved in the efforts to find land for permanently rehabilitating those families. A Rs.100-crore additional package would be conceived for the tsunami-hit panchayats such as Alappad, Edavanakkad, Arattupuzha and Andhakaranazhi, he said.

The Minister said that the Rs.1441.75-crore package for health, education, social welfare and rehabilitation would be utilised in the next two years. The scheme would include development of drinking water and sanitation facilities, new buildings for anganwadis, schools and hospitals, electricity connections and various welfare measures for fish workers, he said.

It includes a massive `Theeravanam' project for planting mangrove trees along the coast. The Rs.12-crore aid from the Maharashtra Government would be utilised for construction of 250 houses in the Alappad panchayat and for developing the taluk hospital at Karunagappally. The aid of Rs.16-crore from the Prime Minister would be utilised for education and health of children in the tsunami-hit areas.

An amount of Rs.51,000 each would be deposited in accounts of children who had lost their parents in the tsunami, he said. "Till they become 18-years-old and can withdraw the amount each of them would get Rs.300 as monthly scholarship," he said. Counselling centres, special tuition classes and libraries would be started in these areas. He said that a health insurance scheme covering 1.5 lakh families in the coastal districts would be launched. The scheme would continue for three years. He also said that the State Government had submitted an additional Rs.27 crore scheme to the Prime Minister. The proposal of the scheme included sanctioning of Rs.25,000 each as financial grant to 10,000 Kudumbasree units functioning in the coastal areas.