PM, Sonia return after aerial survey of Bihar flood

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Purnia, Aug 28 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi left for New Delhi after an hour-long aerial survey of the devastating floods in north Bihar today.

The duo arrived along with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Steel Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly Rabri Devi, among others, from New Delhi at around 1100 hours in a special IAF aircraft.

They left for the aerial survey of the worst-affected areas of Purnea, Madhepura, Supoul and Araria districts in four helicopters.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi welcomed the Prime Minister and Ms Gandhi at the airport and accompanied them in the aerial survey.

However, due to sudden deterioration of the weather conditions, the team could inspect the inundated areas for just an hour and returned to the airport here at around 1215 hrs.

After holding initial discussions with the Chief Minister, Railway Minister and Mr Paswan, Dr Singh, Ms Gandhi and the Union Home Minister left for New Delhi in the special aircraft.

There was, however, no interaction with the waiting media persons at the airport, official sources said.

In New Delhi, the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold an urgent meeting this afternoon with the ministers concerned and senior officials to discuss the catastrophic situation in Bihar and the amount of Central assistance to deal with the natural calamity.

The downpour in north Bihar turned ugly after the swollen Kosi breached its embankments in several areas on Indo-Nepal border on August 14 and changed its course, inundating most of the areas in several districts, including Madehpura, Supoul and Araria.

As a result, 55 people have lost their lives and over five million people been affected. Property and standing crops worth several hundred crores of rupees were also damaged.


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