PM announces Rs 1000 crore financial package for Bihar flood victims

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Patna, Aug 28 (UNI) Declaring the floods in north Bihar as a ''national calamity'', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced a financial package of Rs 1,000 crore as well as 1,25,000 tonnes of foodgrains for the affected people.

Promising maximum assistance to help the State tide over the current disaster, the Prime Minister also announced a compensation of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the calamity.

In addition, more powerful helicopters would be pressed into service for evacuation of large number of marooned people, he said.

The Prime Minister made these announcements at the Purnea airport after conducting an aerial survey of the worst-affected regions today with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, among others.

The Chief Minister, during his visit to New Delhi yesterday, had put forward these demands, including the demand for Rs 1,000 crore, before the Prime Minister.

The PM, after seeing the extent of damage during the hour-long survey, agreed to the State government's demand and announced the financial aid of Rs 1000 crore and other relief.

Dr Singh said the Centre will provide necessary material and technical assistance to the state Government to prevent further deterioration in the embankments and protective structures. A high-level team will be set up to coordinate matters with Nepal.

In view of the unprecedented scale of relief measures required and as the relief operations are likely to continue over an extended period, the Centre will procure and supply tarpaulin tents and GI sheets as per the stae government' request. Special IAF sorties would be arranged for providing packaged drinking water. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority will together provide 100 additional motorized boats for rescue operations. And high capacity IAF helicopters will be deployed for evacuation. Teams of doctors and paramedics would be kept on standby in accordance with the state government's requirement.

The Centre will also provide assistance from the Department of Animal Husbandry for the livestock affected by the floods.

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