10 July 2012

PM's media statement after aerial survey of flood affected areas of Assam

Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, made an aerial survey of flood affected areas of Assam today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s media statement after the aerial survey: 

"Dear friends, Sonia ji and I have made an aerial survey of the flood affected areas of Jorhat, Dhemaji and Lakhimrpur districts. I have witnessed the extensive damage that the floods have caused. The people of Assam are facing one of the worst floods in recent times. These floods have led to loss of lives and have afflicted considerable damage to crops, embankments, roads, and other infrastructure. I have learnt with great sadness that 77 people have died and 5 are missing and more than 2,000 villages and over 19 lakh people have been affected. 

The Central government and its agencies are working closely with the State Government and doing everything possible to provide relief to the affected people. National Disaster Response Force has deployed 16 teams comprising of 640 men along with 71 boats and flood rescue equipments. The Army has deployed 752 personnel for rescue and relief operation. Over 4,000 people have been rescued, 400 personnel have been transported and 20 tones of relief materials delivered by the Air Force. For the next two days our focus will be on rescuing people still marooned, in flood waters and on extending relief to those who have been forced to leave their home. 

I am satisfied that the rescue and relief operation have been organized with speed. About 4.84 lakh people are presently sheltered in 768 relief camps and a large number of mobile health centres are being operated in flood affected areas. I have been informed that sufficient quantities of foodgrains and other essential commodities are available in the State. Already the State Government has distributed around 10,000 quintals of food items. If required the Central Government will quickly move additional quantities of essential commodities to the state. 

The Railway line in Dima Hasao district has been disrupted. The Ministry of Railways is taking immediate steps for restoration of the railway line, which is necessary to keep the supply line open to Barak Valley, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. Once we have completed rescue and relief operation, our focus will shift to restoration of the damaged infrastructure. The Central Team has reached Assam today, some members may have come today, others will be following, to make an assessment of the damage caused to crops and infrastructure like roads, including national highways, river embankments, public buildings such as schools and hospitals, water supply system. From the Prime Minister National Relief Fund an ex-gratia of Rs.1 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased has been announced. While the Central Government will decide on the exact amount of financial support to be provided to the State Government after the Central Team submits report, I am making a commitment to provide an ad-hoc Central support of Rs.500 cr to the State Government. 

The Government of India will also extend a system for reconstruction of damaged assets and flood control works through plan scheme. We will ensure that adequate quantities of foodgrains and other essential commodities are available in the State. And that agricultural seeds of the desired varities required for replacement purposes are also available. Once the immediate relief work has taken place we will pay more adequate attention through medium and long term problems of flood relief, of flood control, control of erosion and related problems. 

These are some of the things I wanted to mention through you ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.”  

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