Kerala ministers meet PM, FM to seek immediate relief

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured a Kerala government delegation that assistance to tackle the calamitous situation caused by summer rains and floods would be sanctioned immediately after receiving the report of the Central team.

Kerala Revenue Minister K P Rajendran and Transport Minister Mathew T Thomas told mediapersons after their meeting with Dr Singh that they had apprised him of the gravity of the situation caused by heavy rains, estimated to be 660 per cent more than the normal summer showers.

The Central team would visit the state before March 27 to assess the damages to human lives, crops and public property.

The Kerala ministers also met Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Mr Rajendran said he had requested Dr Singh and Mr Chidambaram not to apply the general national guidelines to sanction calamity assistance in the case of Kerala.

He said he had pointed out to Dr Singh that the cost of production in cultivation of all crops was higher than that of other parts of the country.

Mr Rajendran asked the government to release the arrears from the Rs 84 crore sanctioned for the natural calamity in 2007.

He said all crops, including paddy, pepper and cardamom, suffered extensive damages in all districts. The loss has been assessed at Rs 180 crore in Wayanad and Idukki district alone, he added.

UNI SH VD RK1835

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