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Central government assures aid to all flood-hit states

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Picture Courtesy:-indianexpress.com

New Delhi: Amid floods in Tamil Nadu and in some parts of Andhra Pradesh, the central government on Wednesday assured of all possible help to all flood-hit states, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the situation with his cabinet colleagues.

“The prime minister held a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and discussed the flood situation. The ministers exchanged information on the situation,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha.

The prime minister had spoken to (Tamil Nadu) Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa yesterday (Tuesday) and assured her all possible support and cooperation from the Centre.

The issue was discussed in both houses of parliament.

The home minister is chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the flood situation. Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others were also present at the meeting,

Naidu told the Lok Sabha that the army, navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were pressed into service to help the distressed people.

He said the situation was “unheard of and unprecedented”. “We are very concerned,” he added.

Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi Karunanidhi of the DMK asked the central government to declare the Chennai floods a national disaster, saying the situation was grave.

The work done by the central government is commendable, but more needs to be done,

Narasimham Thota of the TDP urged the Centre to immediately release Rs 1,000 crore as an advance to the state from the National Disaster Relief Fund.

Rajamohan Reddy of the YSR Congress Party also urged the Centre to send a team to Andhra Pradesh to assess the damage caused by the rains.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, TG Venkatesh Babu of the AIADMK demanded adequate assistance from the Centre for flood-hit Tamil Nadu.

He said that after assessing the damage, a memorandum was submitted to the central government by the Tamil Nadu government seeking Rs 2,630.85 crore for temporary restoration and Rs 5,850.34 crore for permanent restoration.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said that along with Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, floods have very badly affected West Bengal also.

Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said: Tamil Nadu “has given a suggestion that the State Disaster Response Fund should be borne by the government of India. Odisha has been demanding the same thing.

Earlier in the day, both houses witnessed uproar on different issues.

In the Lok Sabha, the Congress attacked minister VK Singh, who was present in the house, and sought action against him for his dog analogy and staged a walkout. The Trinamool Congress and the Left too staged a walkout on the issue.

As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, the Congress sought to raise the issue, but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she has disallowed all notices for suspension of question hour, leading to Congress members trooping near the speaker’s podium and shouting slogans against the government.

The leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government during the debate on intolerance did not touch upon the remarks made by VK Singh about Dalits.

After some 40 minutes of uproar, during which the speaker’s repeated requests to the protesting members to calm down fell on deaf ears, a visibly upset Prime Minister Narendra Modi left the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha, however, witnessed repeated adjournments in the pre- and post-lunch sessions and proceedings of the house became smooth only after the house reassembled at 3.30 pm. when it took up the discussion on floods in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier, the government and the opposition locked horns in the upper house as the treasury benches sought to contradict Congress member Kumari Selja’s claim of having faced caste discrimination at a Gujarat temple when she was a union minister.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Chennai floods: Airport shuts down due to overflowing of water

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Picture Courtesy:-www.ibnlive.com

Chennai: All international and domestic flights to and from Chennai have been cancelled and the Chennai International Airport at Meenambakkam has been shut till 12 noon on December 6, the civil aviation ministry announced on Wednesday.

As many as 12 domestic and 12 international arrivals were diverted on Wednesday and 34 aircraft were stranded at Chennai airport, said an official statement.

According to the ministry, only one international flight arrival was cleared owing to a medical emergency.

The unprecedented torrential downpour forced all navigational aids within the airfield to be switched off due to waterlogging, leaving only the secondary surveillance radar available.

By 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the entire operational area of Chennai airport was submerged under seven feet of rain water.

However, air traffic services for the overflying traffic were not affected.

Arrangements were made to transport 90 passengers by buses to Bengaluru and 200 more to Chennai.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) established emergency contact numbers: +91 44 22563100 and +91 8056220066 for assistance.

Meanwhile, budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday said it was closely monitoring the situation in Chennai following the ongoing deluge as operations at the city’s waterlogged airport had been suspended till further orders.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Chennai. All our operations at Chennai Airport have been suspended till further instructions as the airport is waterlogged and the tarmac is submerged in one and a half feet of water,

“Refunds have also been offered to cancelled flights and alternatives have been offered where ever possible,” G.P. Gupta, chief administrative officer of SpiceJet, said in the statement.

On Tuesday, low-cost carrier IndiGo said all flights operating out of Chennai were temporarily cancelled following the closure of the airport.

IndiGo assures all passengers will receive 100 percent refund against the flight cancellations made on grounds of weather conditions, and cancellation and change fee will be waived off for affected passengers till further notice,

“All employees have been accommodated at safe locations,” it added. The unprecedented rains, the worst in 100 years, have battered Tamil Nadu’s northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Central government constitutes a team to asses flood damage in Tamil Nadu

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Picture Courtesy:-www.thehindu.com

New Delhi: The Center on Tuesday said it would depute an official team on November 26 to assess the flood damage in Tamil Nadu.

In a statement, the union finance ministry said a sum of Rs.939 crore has been released to Tamil Nadu.

The government of India is deputing a team of central government officials to Tamil Nadu on November 26, 2015, to make a first-hand assessment of the damage.

On November 23, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for central funding of Rs.8,481 crore towards flood relief.

She also asked for an immediate relief of Rs.2,000 crore.

Rains lashed four districts in Tamil Nadu — Cuddalore, Chennai, Thiruvallur, and Kanchipuram — in the past couple of weeks killing at least 169 people.

A letter has also been received from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, seeking central assistance in connection with flood damage, the finance ministry said.

According to the statement, a central team will also be sent to Andhra Pradesh as soon as a memorandum is received from the state.

For Andhra Pradesh, a sum of Rs.1,030 crore has been released during this fiscal towards disaster relief and also as a part of certain commitments made to the state consequent on the re-organization of the erstwhile composite state, the ministry’s  statement said.

(Inputs from IANS)