PM, Sonia to visit flood-hit Andhra, Karnataka
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister P Chidambaram will visit flood-hit Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on Monday and Tuesday to assess the havoc wreaked by heavy rains there and meet the affected people.india Updated: Oct 05, 2009 11:10 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister P Chidambaram will visit flood-hit Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on Monday and Tuesday to assess the havoc wreaked by heavy rains there and meet the affected people.
"Sonia Gandhi will undertake an aerial survey of the worst-affected districts of Kurnool and Mahboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh for a spot assessment of the death and destruction caused by heavy rains and flood waters," a party spokesperson told IANS Sunday.
She will also visit Bellary, one of the 10 worst flood-hit districts in north Karnataka, to assess the damage and meet the affected people. Chidambaram will accompany her during the trip to both states.
Gandhi had contested the Lok Sabha election from the Bellary constituency in 1999 but vacated the seat to retain the Rae Bareli seat from Uttar Pradesh.
"Sonia Gandhi will land on Jindal airstrip at Tornagallu (about 30 km from Bellary) on Monday morning. State officials and party leaders will brief her on the situation in the flood-hit district," Congress legislative council member KC Kondaiah said.
Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit both the states on Tuesday for a first-hand account of the damage in the flood-hit districts.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa appealed to Manmohan Singh to declare the worst floods in the state since 1972 as a 'national calamity' and release Rs 10,000 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NNC) to rehabilitate the affected people.
Heavy rains due to depression in the Bay of Bengal and low pressure from the Arabian Sea from Sep 29 to Oct 2 have caused flash floods in north Karnataka and the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, leaving about 200 people dead and a million homeless.
Discharge of waters from three dams across the major rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra in Karnataka inundated several villages and towns across the region in the neighbouring states.
"The exceptionally heavy rains due to cyclonic conditions caused extensive loss and damage in 12 districts, affecting about 17.8 million people. Agricultural crops in these districts are completely destroyed. Road network and power installation are also badly damaged," Yeddyurappa told the prime minister in a letter.
The state government has estimated the loss of crops and damage to public/private property at about Rs 20,000 crore.
"Relief and reconstruction operations need to be taken up on a massive scale considering the magnitude of the tragedy," the letter mentioned.
In a related development, the chief minister cancelled the leave of top officials in the affected districts for speed implementation of rehab measures and in restoring normalcy.
"I have also directed the ministers in-charge of the respective districts to stay put and supervise the relief measures," Yeddyurappa told reporters late on Sunday.
The chief minister, who undertook aerial survey of the affected districts returned to Bangalore as he could not proceed to Koppal in north Karnataka due to bad weather.
An all-party meeting, scheduled for Monday to discuss the flood situation, was postponed after opposition leaders told the state government that they would not be able to reach Bangalore due to damage to roads and cancellation of trains from the affected areas.