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State to submit memo on calamities

Special Correspondent

Chandy says State has sought visit by a Central team to assess flood damages

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy informed the Assembly on Monday that the State Government had promptly apprised the Prime Minister about the flood situation in the State and sought a visit by a Central team to assess the flood damage in different parts of Kerala.

Replying to a volley of submissions on the continuing flood situation and loss of life during the last few days, Mr. Chandy said a special meeting of the Cabinet was held on July 26, the day on which different parts of the State experienced heavy rain, to assess the situation and it was decided to submit a memorandum to the Centre. The very next day, a fax message was sent to the Prime Minister's office explaining the situation in the State and about the loss of nine lives, he added.

Mr. Chandy told A. K. Mony (Cong) that Munnar was worst-hit by the rain. Landslip had claimed eight lives in the area. Twenty roads were totally destroyed. The Government had opened three relief camps to accommodate around 1,615 persons belonging to 333 houses affected by the floods. It had also sanctioned Rs.50,000 to the next of kin of grown-up persons killed in the floods and Rs.10,000 each to next of kin of children who lost their lives. It had also sanctioned free ration for one month for the affected families. Those who had lost their houses would be given Rs.30,000 each. Those who had lost houses and land would be given 10 cents each if Government land was available and five cents if private land were to be acquired, he said.

The Chief Minister said there were some major lessons to be learned from the happenings. The most important of these related to the rampant encroachments in the area, indiscriminate construction activities taking place there and the environmental issues arising from human interventions. The Government wished to hold discussions with all political parties on ways to find long-term solutions to these problems, he said.

Bar on tree felling goes

Mr. Chandy told A. C. Shanmughadas (NCP) that the Government would waive all obstacles to felling of trees on school campuses that pose a threat to the lives of children. The Education, Revenue and Public Works Ministers would discuss the issue and take appropriate measures in the light of the death of two schoolchildren in an upper primary school at Panangad in Balussery. The Government would also see how best it could assist the families of the two children, he said.

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