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Vajpayee promises to consider special drought relief for State

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 2. The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has assured the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, that the Centre would consider the State's request for special assistance for drought relief.

The Chief Minister took up the matter with the Prime Minister when he met Mr. Vajpayee who was staying at the Raj Bhavan here last night. (Mr. Vajpayee reached here late in the evening on his way to Kanyakumari.)

Mr. Antony told the Prime Minister that the State was reeling under an unprecedented drought. It was the first time that drought conditions were being experienced from December itself.

He told the Prime Minister that a detailed memorandum based on losses suffered would be submitted to the Central Government soon.

Mr. Antony and the Governor, Sikander Bhakt, saw the Prime Minister off at the airport this afternoon on his return from Kanyakumari after attending the `bhoomi pooja' of the Kashmir-Kanyakumari Highway Project.

The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command, Air Marshal S. K. Malick, the Chief Secretary, N. Chandrasekharan Nair, the Member of Parliament, Varkala Radhakrishnan, the Director General of Police, Hormese Tharakan, the Member of the Planning Board, C. P. John, and the BJP State general secretaries, P. P. Mukundan and K. Raman Pillai, were among those present to bid farewell to the Prime Minister. The Union Minister of State for Defence, O. Rajagopal, accompanied Mr. Vajpayee.

Though the BJP had planned to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister on local developmental needs, it could not do so. Mr. Raman Pillai said the draft was not ready in time for submission to Mr. Vajpayee.

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