Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], Aug 11 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday demanded that states be allowed to use funds from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) unconditionally removing "the current 25 per cent limit" in view of the situation created by COVID-19 and other difficulties faced by state including floods.
He made the demand during the video conference meeting of the PM with the Chief Ministers of flood-affected states.
Briefing the media later, the Chief Minister said that the setting up of COVID-19 testing and quarantine facilities has put a huge financial burden on the states.
"Therefore, generous assistance is expected from the Centre to meet this expenditure. The floods too have come at a time when the numbers of COVID-19 patients are increasing. The current monsoon has had a major impact on the economic condition of the state battling the pandemic. The Prime Minister was informed that a comprehensive report on the losses incurred by us will be submitted to the Centre," he said.
He thanked Prime Minister for sending 10 NDRF companies to Kerala to deal with the floods, for the assistance provided by the NDRF in rescue operations in the aftermath of the landslide at Idukki Rajamalai and in the wake of the Karipur plane crash.
The Chief Minister said that the Prime Minister told the meeting that the Department of Water and Meteorology and the National Remote Sensing Centre would coordinate the use of technology to provide maximum weather warnings.
With the severity of the current monsoon, Kerala has been experiencing disasters for the third year in a row.
The state has taken all possible precautions and made preparations to deal with the heavy rains.
Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Wayanad and Idukki are the worst affected districts.
People have been evacuated from dangerous areas and 686 relief camps have been set up in compliance with the COVID protocols. A total of 22,830 persons from 6,967 families have been put up there. The water level in the dams is being closely monitored and warnings issued to the people based on it.
The Chief Minister also informed that the state Chief Secretary has requested his counterpart in Tamil Nadu to draw as much water possible from the Mullaperiyar dam through the tunnel to the Vaigai Dam in Tamil Nadu and to reduce the amount of water flowing down from Mullaperiyar dam.
Care has been taken to increase the flow of water by removing the accumulated silt in the Pampa River to prevent flooding in low lying areas. (ANI)