Kerala prepares memo seeking more Central funds

After a muted Onam, Kerala woke up on Sunday to the enormity of rehabilitation and restoration of normal life devastated by the unprecedented floods in the central districts of the State. According to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who held a review of the relief and rehabilitation work on Sunday, 4,62,456 persons are still housed in 1,435 relief camps. Over three lakh houses have been cleaned till date. Apart from the physical challenge of clearing debris, cleaning flood ravaged buildings, sanitation and medical care, the fiscal challenges of handling the post-flood reconstruction are growing, despite a massive inflow of aid to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The State has already announced compensation for those affected by the flood. The Public Works Department action plan, presented to the government to restore roads and other damaged infrastructure, puts the cost at Rs. 5,815.25 crore over the next 18 months. The Centre has already released Rs. 600 crore as advance assistance, with another Rs. 562.45 crore given to the State Disaster Response Fund. The State government is preparing a memorandum for further assistance after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to Governor P. Sathasivam when the latter called on him on Saturday. Mr. Vijayan also appealed on television to Keralites, both in the country and outside, to contribute a month’s salary over 10 months for the rehabilitation efforts.

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