PM grants Rs 200 cr for Andamans
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday announced an immediate grant of Rs 200 crore for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, badly hit by the tsunami disaster, and declared launching of a comprehensive plan for relief measures and rebuilding of infrastructure.
Making a slew of promises after touring the affected areas of the islands, the Prime Minister said the government would provide additional funds for various employment programmes, adequate grants for tribals, medical health programmes and infrastructure building.
He said he would appeal to education boards to defer examinations for Class X and XII by a few months for those who opted for it.
State-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters will be asked to provide additional services to the islands, Singh said, adding mobile telephone connectivity will be given to all the major islands.
Singh said that in view of the seismic and tidal activities around Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a team of scientific experts would be constituted to study submergence of areas and tidal and seismic patterns to help locate places for new settlements.
At the national level, the Prime Minister said, an early warning system will be developed so that during such disasters adequate time was available to prepare.
Singh, who reviewed the situation with Lt Governor Ram Kapse and top officers of the armed forces, asserted that the Centre and the Union Territory administration were fully equipped to meet the challenges and that all steps will be taken to prevent outbreak of epidemics.
Asked about measures being taken for orphaned children and widows, Singh said the Centre will work with the UT government and interested NGOs to devise effective programmes for their settlement.
He said the immediate objective was to provide "effective relief" at the camps and ensure availability of adequate food, medicines and temporary shelters besides educational facilities.