Andhra Rains: CM to Request for Team to Assess Damages

Andhra Pradesh government will request the Centre to depute a team of officials to the state to assess the massive damage caused by heavy rains over the last few days and provide assistance.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy would write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard, Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told reporters here today.

A memorandum would be sent to the Centre after estimating the damage, he said.

He was speaking after a high-level review meeting held by the Chief Minister with ministers and senior officials.

The toll in rain-related incidents has mounted to 24 and crops in 5.25 lakh hectares and horticulture crops in over 24,000 acres were affected.

The Chief Minister, state Congress president and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana and ministers for agriculture and civil supplies would undertake an aerial survey and field visits tomorrow in Krishna, Khammam, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts to interact with victims and to get first hand information.

Meanwhile, Civil Supplies Minister D Sridhar Babu said an assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh would be given to the kin of the deceased.

The Chief Minister would also request the Centre to relax the norms for purchase of cotton affected by rains, he said. 

To a query, the Revenue Minister said it was not correct to say that the state government delayed in taking relief measures as the government machinery was put on alert immediately.

He, however, regretted that there was no mechanism to predict North-East Monsoon rains. There is a mechanism available with India Meteorological Department to predict South-West monsoon but not North-East Monsoon (winter rains received in parts of south India), he said.

"I put this question to them this morning. I said you could alert us about 'Nilam' cyclone and we could tide over that. But what about the rains? They said they don't have that facility now. They said the Centre has now sanctioned Rs 400 crore to establish the system for making forecasts about North East monsoon and that it will take another 2-3 years for it to become functional. You may ask them why they could not forewarn us," Raghuveera Reddy said.

"About cyclone, they predicted correctly. As far as the rains are concerned, they could not," he said.

Cyclone 'Nilam' crossed the Tamil Nadu coast last week without causing massive destruction. It gradually weakened into a low pressure area resulting in heavy rains in the coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy will visit the rain-affected areas in the East Godavari district tomorrow.

Reddy, who is the guardian minister of the district, will visit Tuni and other rain-affected areas tomorrow and leave for Hyderabad in the night, an official release said.

Meanwhile, a number of villages and towns in the coastal districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts remained inundated making life difficult for the residents.

However, West Godavari district and its headquarters town Eluru heaved a sigh of relief as the rains came to a halt and flood water receded.

An official note issued by the Disaster Management Commissioner said that 25 people have lost their lives in various rain-related incidents so far.

It said 1,289 houses were fully damaged while 5607 were partially damaged due to rains. The government has set up 180 relief camps in which 69,599 people were provided shelter while 37 medical camps were organised, it said.

In West Godavari district, 86 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and eight Navy personnel have been deployed for relief and rescue operations.

The release said that isolated heavy rains would occur in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari and Krishna during the next 48 hours.

District officials up to Tahsildar level have been on alert and the district medical officials have been told to keep stocks of necessary medicines readily available, the release said.

Civil supplies department has been asked to keep stocks of essential commodities like rice and edible oils for supply.

Army, Navy, Air Force and NDRF personnel have also been requested to be ready for deployment and additional special officers have also been appointed to monitor relief work, the release added.

TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party honorary president Y S Vijaya Lakshmi toured in rain-hit areas today.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi tonight telephoned the Chief Minister and enquired about the situation arising out of the heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh, official sources said.

They extended sympathies to the victims and assured adequate support to the state to deal with the calamity and its fallout, they said.

Kiran Reddy updated them about the prevailing situation and informed that he will be touring the rain-affected areas tomorrow, the sources said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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