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Maharashtra flood-relief package: Decision likely next week

The state deferred its decision on the relief package to the flood-affected people in Konkan and western Maharashtra
By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 29, 2021 12:06 AM IST

The state deferred its decision on the relief package to the flood-affected people in Konkan and western Maharashtra. Although the state announced compensation at higher rates, an actual decision is expected early next week once assessment of losses is done.

According to preliminary estimates, the losses due to the floods is estimated to be around 4,000 crore. Meanwhile, the toll in flood-ravaged districts rose to 213.

Eight people are still missing in six districts.

A total of 435,879 people have been evacuated from low-lying and vulnerable areas.

The state cabinet took stock of the preliminary losses due to floods and heavy rain since last Thursday that ravaged Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane in Konkan; Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara in western Maharashtra. Crops across 3.38 lakh hectares have been damaged, while the damages to the electricity infrastructure is more than Rs1,200 crore. The estimated losses to the roads and bridges in the flood-affected districts is more than Rs1,500 crore.

“The assessment of the losses to crops, livestock, housing structure is still at the preliminary stages as many villages in western Maharashtra are under water. More than 400,000 people are still living either in shelters or at their relatives. In such a scenario, it is difficult to arrive at the exact figures of the losses. In the past, the figures of the crop losses were found to be inflated. It was pointed out by the Centre, while granting the relief package for the losses. This time, we want to avoid such discrepancies,” said an official from Mantralaya.

Urban development department minister Eknath Shinde said that the package will be announced once the assessment was completed. “Till then we have decided to give the preliminary assistance as per the NDRF norms,” he said.

The state government has decided on increase the relief amount from the set NDRF norms. The compensation for the partial loss of the house is expected to be increased to Rs5,000 from Rs6,000 to Rs15,000, while the proposed compensation for the fully collapsed houses will be Rs1,50,000 from existing Rs95,100. Similarly, the immediate relief for the losses of household utilities and cash assistance has been increased to Rs10,000 from the existing Rs5,000. The disbursement of the immediate assistance of Rs10,000 has already begun in affected districts, said an official from the relief and rehabilitation department.

The state government has already written to the central government for the revision in the financial assistance given to the calamity-affected people as the norms set are five years old. The demand was raised during a meeting between prime minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray last month.

The water level of the rivers in flood-affected districts came below their danger level. Panchaganga, which has been flowing over its danger level since Thursday, dipped near to its 43 feet danger level as its level at 5pm on Wednesday to 43.2ft. Still 47 weirs are in Kolhapur are submerged, while discharge from the rivers in the district is high.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is likely to visit flood-affected areas in Kolhapur on Thursday. His tour of flood-affected Satara district in western Maharashtra had to be called off on Monday after his helicopter could not land due to the bad weather. State government has allocated 2.57 hectares at Mahad in Raigad for the permanent base camp of NDRF. The land owned by the dairy commissioner of the state government has been handed over for the camp. The decision was taken after the NDRF companies took longer time to reach the flood ravaged Chiplun, Mahad due to the land slides and flooding on their way from their Pune base camp last week.

“In current scenario, the rescue and rehabilitation teams take about 8 hours, which are crucial for operations to reach to spot from Pune or Thane. The coastal districts have witnessed three cyclones in five years and several other natural calamities. In this backdrop, we have moved the proposal in November 2020 for base camp of NDRF in Mahad. The proposal is pending with the Central government, but we have requested the state government to at least set up SDRF base camp at Mahad, which is at the centre point of three coastal districts. We expect the base camp to come up in next six months. It will be set up following the set norms,” said minister of state and Raigad’s guardian minister Aditi Tatkare.

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