Prime Minister convenes NDMA meet on Bihar floods

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today convened an urgent meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to discuss issues arising out of the Kosi Floods in Bihar.

The NDMA noted that the first stage of immediate response and evacuation in flood-hit Bihar is almost over and claimed that all the marooned persons have been rescued.

The National Executive Committee was asked to give Prime Minister a full report within the next couple of days.

It was reported in the meeting that the Centre's institutional and coordination mechanisms have responded in time in this period of crisis as 37 Army Columns, 775 boats from the Army, Navy, central Paramilitary Forces, National Disaster Response Force and others have been deployed.

Nearly 4000 jawans are engaged round the clock while 1.25 lakh MT of foodgrains, 10 lakh Galvanized Iron sheets for housing, 300 MT of medicines, 52 ambulances, ample fodder and a number of medical teams, have been provided for the relief work. An ad hoc release of about Rs 1000 crore has also been made.

Members of the NDMA, the Cabinet Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Home Secretary have visited and taken stock in detail, the Prime Minister was informed.

Various issues were raised during the meeting like relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts should be coordinated at the highest level, breach of embankment at Kusaha should be plugged on top priority basis and the affected irrigation projects should also be reconstructed.

Issues regarding free foodgrains for flood victims, compensation for loss of house, crop and cattle, complete loan waiver for affected persons, fresh crop loans on priority, arrangements for medical assistance, housing grant for reconstruction of houses and repair or reconstruction of infrastructure were also discussed in the meeting.

The Prime Minister directed that all the points should be quickly examined in order to evolve a pragmatic, time-bound and well monitored programme.

The areas of immediate action were identified as plugging of breach setting up more relief camps, providing safe drinking water and sanitation in camps and villages, health surveillance, preparing affected agricultural fields for Rabi crop and proper implementation of the various components under Bharat Nirman - roads, water, telephones, electricity and housing.

Decisions were taken in the meeting immediate preparation of viable relief and rehabilitation plans for each of the districts in consultation with the state government, establishment of a system of close monitoring to ensure proper fund utilization and daily reporting of the same.

It was decided that given the enormity of the task all agencies, state, central, Civil Society, corporates should be involved for specified items of rehabilitation and a team of NDMA may be positioned in the affected areas to ensure better coordination.

UNI PMD SP MIR HT2318

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