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Punjab flood: Govt wants dist admin hire counsellors to 'prevent psychological diseases'

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 26, 2019  | 18:57 IST

Chandigarh, Aug 26 (PTI) The Punjab government on Monday asked authorities in deluged districts to hire counsellors to prevent acute stress-related "psychological" issues among affected people, as it steps up efforts to deal with the state's worst flood in over 30 years. The suggestion came as a part of a post-flood action plan which was issued to the district administrations of Jalandhar, Kaputhhala, Rupnagar, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Fazilka and Moga. Among other things, the guidelines states that economic, physical and mental wellbeing of the affected people should be taken care of. "In one of its kind of action recommended, in order to boost the morale of flood victims, the state government has suggested to rope in counsellors for prevention of psychological diseases arising out of acute stress," the government said in a release. In the worst flood in the state since 1988, people in several districts have lost their houses, belongings, and standing crops, though no loss of human life has been reported so far. Normal life has been hit in the flood-affected areas of the state, officials said. The state government has estimated that the damage is in the range of Rs 1,700 crore. An official said standing crops in an area of 4,000 hectares have been damaged. Another official said 125 cattle heads and 8,000 poultry birds worth Rs 91 lakh perished in the floods. The guidelines asks the health department to educate people about water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and vector-borne diseases including malaria and dengue, an official release stated. Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh met a group of secretaries on disaster management and deputy commissioners of the flood-hit districts to review relief operations and directed immediate release of funds to meet urgent requirements in the affected areas, an official release said. The Chief Secretary asked Health Department and the Department Food & Civil Supplies officials to ensure adequate supply of medicines and food items in the affected areas and ensure no water-borne disease breaks out, it stated. Deputy commissioners of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Moga, Ludhiana, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Rupnagar joined the meeting via video conference. They gave a brief account of damage caused in their districts and added that actual loss would be assessed once the water recedes. They sought immediate release of funds. They informed the Chief Secretary that the situation was under control in their respective districts, the release said. Chief Secretary Singh assured them that the government will provide every possible help and asked them to further step up the relief operations. Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) K.B.S. Sidhu, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Satish Chandra, ACSs Viswajeet Khanna, Kalpna Mittal Baruah were present in the meeting, among other officers. As per the guidelines mentioned above, the water supply and sanitation officers have been directed to provide clean drinking water and ensure regular supply of chlorine tablets. As part of relief measure to flood-effected members of the cooperative societies, the department has been asked to work out a proposal to convert short-term loans into medium term ones and to facilitate member-farmers sow next Rabi crop. Recent heavy rains and release of excess water from Bhakra dam and swollen Sutlej river and its tributaries have inundated villages in several district of the state. PTI CHS VSD TIR TIR

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