Kerala flood updates: PM Modi announces Rs 500 crore assistance; SBI extends Xpress Credit, fee waivers
Kerala flood updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed today the flood situation in rain-battered Kerala at a high-level meeting in Kochi. Earlier, there were reports that the prime minister's helicopter could not take-off for an aerial survey of flood affected areas due to bad weather.
Kerala flood updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed today the flood situation in rain-battered Kerala at a high-level meeting in Kochi. Earlier, there were reports that the prime minister's helicopter could not take-off for an aerial survey of flood affected areas due to bad weather. But, there was no official confirmation from the state and the Union government.
"The prime minister is reviewing the flood situation in Kerala at a high-level meeting. @CMOKerala," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.
Modi, after an overnight stay in the state capital, left for Kochi this morning for the aerial survey and the review meeting to get a first-hand knowledge of the enormity of the mayhem caused by the southwest monsoon.
Rs 500 crore immediate relief
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today an immediate financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the rain-battered Kerala, after reviewing the flood situation in the state.
Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF), a Prime Minister's Office (PMO) statement said. "The prime minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state. This is in addition to Rs 100 crore announced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on August 12," it said.
Meanwhile, rains lashing several parts of the state since this morning is causing concern as it could hamper the rescue and relief operations. Chengannur in Pathnamthitta, Chalakudy in Thrissur and various parts of Ernakulam district are among the worst hit where rescue efforts are likely to be concentrated today. Since airlifting is the only option in some remote areas, where people are marooned since the past four days, the state government has sought more helicopters for airlifting them, chief minister said. Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian pleaded for more help and said thousands of people were stranded in houses without food and water, if immediate steps are not taken to evacuate them, their life will be in danger.
"For the past five days people are without food in many places. We urgently need food, medicines, water. People need to be airlifted urgently. Evacuation by Army, Navy and Air Force are urgently needed," Cherian told a television channel this morning. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the government machinery has to be properly coordinated to ensure all the needy get help.
As per information from the control room of the State Disaster Management, since August 8, 194 persons have lost their lives so far and 36 are missing. Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps. The maximum deaths have been reported from Thrissur (42), Idukki (37) and Malappuram (35).
Kerala floods: Kochi airport shut till Saturday
According to the latest weather report, heavy rains accompanied with gusty wind speed reaching 60 kmph is expected in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts. The state is facing its worst flood in 100 years with 80 dams opened and all rivers in spate.
SBI donates Rs 2 crore
The State Bank of India (SBI) has donated Rs 2 crore for the Kerala flood victims and initiated several other ground-level measures in the deluged state, an official said on Saturday. The SBI has encouraged all its 270,000 staffers to contribute to the Chief Minister`s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF), and the bank would contribute an equivalent amount. It also announced a waiver of fees and charges on services like loans for flood relief, duplicate passbooks, ATM cards, cheque books and EMI delays, besides making attempts to restore the working of branches and ATMs in the flood-affected regions of the state.
Besides, the SBI has decided to waive all charges on remittance to the CMDRF, penalty on non-maintenance of minimum account balance from proceeds of relief fund provided by the government and agencies and if already recovered, such charges would be refunded for customers in the state. The bank has extended Xpress Credit to existing customers with relaxed norms for a month, deployed cash at PoS (Point of Sale) to enable people avail Rs 2,000 to meet daily cash requirements across the state.
Persons who have lost or displaced personal documents can open small accounts with only photos and signature or thumb impressions and all employees of SBI deployed to address requirements of the customers and ensure best possible service.
At least 180 persons have lost their lives, thousands displaced or stranded as incessant rains pounded Kerala since the past 10 days, causing havoc in 12 districts.