PM postpones visit to flood-affected states
The postponement was due to political developments in the Capital, especially the suspension of former Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh.india Updated: Aug 09, 2006 18:22 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has postponed his visit Thursday to flood-affected areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The postponement was due to political developments in the capital, especially the suspension of former Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh, sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said. Fresh dates for the visit would be announced shortly.
Manmohan Singh has been in close touch with chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Orissa and was expected to review the situation with senior officials to help expedite relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures.
Heavy rains over the past two weeks have swollen rivers and flooded houses, forcing nearly 650,000 people from their homes in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. At least 145 people have died in the past week.
The floods have affected nearly 3.5 million people living in and around the city of Surat in Gujarat state.
Several energy and fertiliser companies scaled back production after the closure of gas and petrochemical plants in Hazira in Gujarat. The Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) closed down a plant that supplies most of the gas used in northern India, while Reliance Industries also shut several petrochemical plants.
Across the country, rains have killed at least 527 people this year.