Minister Manmohan Singh Monday announced an aid package of Rs.500
crore for Assam, which has been severely hit by floods, causing an
estimated 65 deaths and inundating large stretches of land,
The announcement came after the prime minister and Congress
president Sonia Gandhi undertook an aerial survey of some flood
affected districts of the state Monday.
"The Rs.500 crore is sanctioned for immediate relief of the state.
A central team has reached the state today (Monday) and will start
assessing the total damage of the floods in the state and all the
required financial assistance will be extended to the state
government based on the assessment of the central team," said the
prime minister, while reading out a statement before the media at
LGBI International Airport near Guwahati.
According to the state Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the
floods, affecting all 27 districts of the state, killed at least
65 people till Sunday. Another 16 people were killed in the past
two weeks due to landslides, caused by heavy flooding and
The prime minister, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, also
assured the state of efforts to restore the railway line in the
Lumding-Badarpur Hill section of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).
The railway ministry has already been instructed to take up
immediate steps to restore the railway line as it is a lifeline
for the people in Assam's Barak Valley, as well as neighbouring
Mizoram and Tripura.
With the flood waters receding at some places, Manmohan Singh said
the primary focus now would be on rescuing people who have been
left marooned in flood-hit areas and providing relief to them.
The prime minister had earlier announced an ex-gratia payment of
Rs.1 lakh each to the relatives of those killed in floods and
landslides. Besides, the state government will also pay Rs.2.5
lakh each to the relatives of the victims.
He also noted that over 700 army personnel, and 16 teams of the
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), comprising over 600
personnel and 71 boats, have been pressed into service for
carrying out relief and rescue operations across the state.
"So far, a total of 4,000 people have been rescued across the
state and 20 tonnes of relief material has been airlifted by the
Air Force to help the marooned people," the prime minister added.
"A total of 4.84 lakh people, who have been rendered homeless by
floods, have taken shelter in the 768 relief across the state. All
the required help was given to the inmates of the relief camps,"
Manmohan Singh said that the state government has adequate stock
of food grain but the central government will provide additional
supplies of grain and other materials as and when required.
Meanwhile, Assam's opposition parties, including the Asom Gana
Parishad (AGP), the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others, have expressed their
dissatisfaction with the package announced by the prime minister.
AIUDF leader and Leader of Opposition Sirajuddin Ajmal said that
Rs.500 crore is not sufficient as immediate relief as there has
been huge devastation and loss of human lives and property in the
BJP state unit spokesman Santanu Bharali also echoed similar
sentiments, and also criticised the response of the state
"With the waters starting to recede, now the major problem will
start in the form of diseases. However, we have not seen any
alertness on the part of the government to deal with the
situations that normally arises after the floods," he said.