The Punjab government Thursday urged a Central team to relax the norms for increasing disaster relief for victims as it worked out losses of over Rs 1,300 crore due the recent floods in the state.
Chief Secretary Anurag Verma raised the demand during a meeting with the seven-member inter-ministerial team of the Centre, which visited the flood-hit areas of Mohali, Patiala, Sangrur, Jalandhar and Rupnagar districts in the past two days to assess the losses.
Verma pointed out that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has already written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, saying there is no shortfall in the state disaster response fund (SDRF) and only a change in the norms for compensating the damage is required so that loss of the people can be fully compensated. Punjab has demanded to increase the compensation amount for the loss of life and property in the floods, he said.
The Chief Secretary submitted a detailed report to the Central team during the meeting after sharing with them figures of department-wise flood damage.
In the letter to Shah, the chief minister urged that the amount of compensation for the loss of life be doubled from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 8 lakh, Rs 17,000 to Rs 34,000 for crop damage, Rs 37,500 to Rs 75,000 for milch animals and Rs 1.20 lakh to Rs 2.40 lakh for damaged houses, Verma said.
He said the state government is standing by its people in their hour of crisis and has funds to provide compensation, but it is unable to provide adequate compensation only because of the norms of the Union Home Ministry.
The Chief Secretary asserted there is, therefore, a need to change these norms.
Ravinesh Kumar, the financial advisor of the National Disaster Management Authority, during the meeting said that his team visited many flood-hit states and Punjab suffered the maximum damages after Himachal Pradesh.
A V Suresh Babu, another member of the team from the ISRO and head of the flood mapping team, said it is also clear through the satellite images that heavy rain caused a lot of damage in Punjab and many areas are affected heavy floods.
Giving details of the overall damages, the Chief Secretary said total loss of Rs 1,320.59 crore has been incurred, he added.
In this regard, the Chief Secretary wrote a letter to the Union Home Secretary and informed that about 1,500 villages in 19 districts have been affected due to floods in the state.