Updated: August 4, 2021 8:47:36 am
The Maharashtra cabinet Tuesday announced a Rs 11,500-crore financial package for rain and flood-affected people, for repair works and other long-term flood mitigation measures.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the relief amount has been calculated at a higher rate than the prescribed norms as the damage in the deluge last month was huge. More than 200 people lost their lives in the recent rain-related incidents.
Sources said that while the cabinet has given its approval for more assistance than the prescribed norms for many categories of damage, it has not , as of now, increased the compensation for damages to perennial crops and horticulture farms. For these, the compensation will be given as per the prescribed norms.
Of the total financial package announced by the government, Rs 1,500 crore will be used for providing immediate assistance to flood victims, while Rs 3,000 crore will go towards reconstruction and repair of damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, electricity and others. A sum of Rs 7,000 crore has been earmarked for undertaking long-term disaster mitigation measures in affected areas.
The government will also extend an ex gratia amount of Rs 10,000 for clothes and utensils per family in the affected areas; Rs 1.5 lakh per house completely damaged; for houses damaged houses up to 50 per cent, 25 per cent and 15 per cent, the government will give Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively; and a sum of Rs 15,000 per hut completely destroyed.
Maximum assistance of Rs 50,000 will be given to the affected shopkeepers and Rs 10,000 to small vendors.
Handicraft workers and artisans will also receive maximum assistance of Rs 50,000. Fishermen will be given the same compensation for completely damaged boats and Rs 5,000 for partially or completely damaged nets.
The cabinet, however, has not increased the compensation for the damages to the agriculture and horticulture crops. “The cabinet, as of now, has decided to give compensation for agriculture as per the government norms without any increase in compensation like other items,” said an official.
As per the existing norms, the compensation of Rs 18,500 per hectare will be given for the loss of perennial crops while Rs 13,500 and Rs 6,800 will be given per hectare for loss of crops and horticulture on the irrigated and non-irrigated lands, respectively.
Officials said that of the Rs 1,500 crore, a sum of Rs 600 crore has been set aside for the compensation as per the existing norms for agriculture. “As per the preliminary estimates, around 4.20 lakh hectares of agriculture land has been damaged for which Rs 491 crore has been kept aside. Since most of the district collectors said the agriculture damage may go up further, we have additionally kept aside Rs 109 crore for it,” the official added.
Thackeray has also directed that a comprehensive and permanent policy should be formulated for the citizens in the landslide-prone areas as well as those living within the blue line, which is marked considering maximum flood discharge in 25 years.
“The frequency of floods is increasing. So, it should be studied by setting up a committee of experts and administrative officials. The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) should also be involved in the study,” Thackeray said, adding that the report should be submitted to the cabinet.
The CM further said a scientific study should be conducted for deepening and widening of riverbeds of the Gandhari, Savitri, and Vashishti rivers in Mahad and Chiplun areas and construction of flood-protection walls. The plans should be implemented in the next three years, he added.
Besides, a Real-Time Data Acquisition System should be set up in the next three months in Mahad and Chiplun areas. “It will measure the rainfall on an hourly basis and will predict the rise in water levels in the next few hours that will enable us to issue warnings in advance to people,” said an official.
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