Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said India will try its best to “wipe the tears” of the people of Nepal. “My dear brothers and sisters of Nepal, India is with you in your grief,” Modi said during his monthly radio programme, Mann Ki Baat. “For 125 crore Indians, Nepal is their very own. Its grief is our grief. India will try its best to wipe the tears, hold the hands and stand alongside every Nepali in this hour of crisis,” he added.
Stating that the government had started providing help to all places hit by the earthquake in India and Nepal, Modi said, “Even now, there will be some people buried under the debris. We have to bring them out alive.
We have sent a team of experts and also sniffer dogs who have been specially trained for such operations.”
“After rescue operations, relief works will have to be run. The task of rehabilitation will go on for long,” he added.
Recalling the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Modi said that he had seen such a calamity from up close. “I can well imagine how dreadful this calamity is. I can imagine what Nepal and its families must be going through,” he said.
“When I spoke to you last month, hailstorms and unseasonal rains had occurred, devastating the farmers. A few days ago, a storm hit Bihar killing many people and causing a lot of damage. And now on Saturday, this devastating earthquake has shaken the whole world. It seems a series of natural disasters has begun. The quake has also killed many people in different states of India. Property has also been damaged. But the destruction and damage in Nepal is massive,” Modi added.
Later in the day, Modi chaired a meeting to review the relief and rescue operations. He emphasised the need to increase the pace of search and rescue operations, and evacuation of stranded people from Nepal. “The PM directed that in addition to the air route, the road route should also be used to evacuate stranded people at the earliest. He stressed on the need to ensure coordination among various agencies involved in relief and rescue operations,” the PMO said. The PM also directed agencies to accord highest priority to providing food and water supplies, including milk powder, to affected areas.
Meanwhile, the government said Sunday that the next of kin of those who lost their lives in various parts of the country due to the earthquake will be given an enhanced compensation of Rs 4 lakh from the National Disaster Relief Fund. “This follows the Union Government’s decision to revise the guidelines for the National Disaster Relief Fund, and raise this compensation amount from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, in the event of death due to natural calamity,” the PMO said.
This amount will be in addition to the compensation of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those killed. A compensation of Rs. 50,000 has been announced for the seriously injured.