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Punjab govt seeks Rs 1,000 cr as special flood relief package

twitter-logoPTI | August 21, 2019 | Updated 20:32 IST

Chandigarh, Aug 21 (PTI) The Punjab government on Wednesday sought Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre as special flood relief package for the loss caused by recent floods in the state. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to instruct the authorities concerned to waive crop loans of banks or financial institutions availed by the farmers in flood-affected villages during the current cropping season, as per an official statement. The request came amid reports that 326 villages across the state had been adversely impacted, with loss of standing crops on nearly 1.20 lakh acres of area submerged under water. The flooding in river Sutlej due to the discharge of water from Bhakra Dam, the heaviest since 1958, has caused extensive damage to the standing crops and inundation of residential areas in the villages, Amarinder Singh said, adding that early estimates suggested the damage to be to the extent of Rs 1,700 crore. The state government had declared the situation in affected areas a natural calamity. In his letter, the chief minister said though necessary assistance has been given by the Army, the floods in Sutlej river has severely damaged standing crops, houses and other rural and urban infrastructure at many places, especially in the districts of Rupnagar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Kapurthala covering over 100 villages. He said he has instructed the officers concerned of the state government to prepare the required memorandum for special package for consideration of the central government in due course. On directives of the chief minister, the Army, NDRF and the SDRF have been pressed into service, especially in the worst affected areas of Jalandhar and Ferozepur district. He has also instructed the state chief secretary to stay in constant touch with the special chief secretary and the principal secretary (water resources), said an official spokesperson. With rescue and relief operations on war footing, 5,023 people have so far been rescued from the affected villages, he said. In Ferozepur alone, 368 people have been rescued by Army and NDRF personnel during a special rescue operation. In Ludhiana, the administration successfully averted a possible breach in Mattewada complex around Ghadi Fazil village, while more than 60 people have been evacuated from the five affected villages of the district. Over 200 people have been rescued in 62 villages in Sultanpur Lodhi area of Kapurthala. PTI CHS VSD SNE SNE

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