Kochi: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday said the Air Force sending a bill of Rs 33 crore to the state for services during the August deluge could not be justified.
Addressing a meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance here, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said he would raise it in Parliament. The panel held a sitting in Kochi to visit the flood-hit areas and to directly assess the extent of damage and also to expedite the promised Central assistance, its chairman M. Veerappa Moily said.
Revenue additional chief secretary, P.H. Kurian briefed the relief and rehabilitation activities during its discussions with top officials here.
Mr Moily complimented the health department which could effectively prevent a possible outbreak of infectious diseases post-flood.
“A high-level meeting of chief secretaries and top officials of Kerala, Karn-ataka and Tamil Nadu will be convened soon after assessing the impacts of natural calamities. Based on this, a report will be prepared and submitted before the Parliament,” the former Karnataka chief minister said.
Mr Kurian told the panel that the state had to face many calamities in the last two years including drou-ght, cyclone Ockhi, Nipah virus outbreak and floods.
“The state suffered losses to the tune of `26,720 crore due to the floods, and according to a UN team, Kerala needs `31,000 crore to compensate for the losses and rebuild infrastructure. A total of 700,000 marooned houses and 3.5 lakh wells had to be cleaned. A total of 2.60 lakh houses were damaged either partially or fully,” said Mr Kurian.
The Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has so far received `2700 crore and spent `601.85 crore. Bills worth `700 crore are ready for clearing.
The state has sought additional assistance of Rs 5616 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund of which it has already received Rs 600 crore.
He sought the assistance of the panel to clear the aid offered by the Asian Development Bank, European Union and World Bank.
District collector Mohammed Y. Safirulla and Disaster Management Authority member secretary Sekhar Kuriakose briefed about the damages.
Committee members T.K. Rangarajan, Anil Desai, A. Navaneetha Krishnan and top officials of various government departments were also in attendance....