Visakhapatnam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for Andhra Pradesh to take up immediate relief work in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Cyclone 'Hudhud'.
"Full survey is yet to be conducted. For now, to deal with difficulty of such a magnitude, I announce, on behalf of the Government of India, an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore," Modi told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, senior ministers and top state officials.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the cyclone and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
"The Centre will fully stand by Andhra Government in this hour of difficulty, Modi said.
Modi said the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government worked in perfect coordination "minute-to-minute" over the past five days to tackle the challenge posed by the cyclone which has claimed 21 lives and left a trail of devastation in the coastal areas.
The local bodies, he said, also rose up to the task. "It is important to note that a crisis of any magnitude can be overcome if the state and Centre work should-to-shoulder," he said. The Prime Minister said the Meteorological Department had correctly forecast from October six itself the different aspects of the cyclone like its velocity, direction and time, leveraging the power of technology.
"The use of technology has helped in overcoming this crisis," the Prime Minister said. Modi appreciated the residents of Visakhapatnam for following the directions of the government with discipline at the time of crisis, helping save precious lives.
Modi, who undertook an aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas, said several Central establishments in Viskhapatnam, including those of the Navy and Coastguard, had suffered major damages.
A survey would be undertaken by a Central team to assess the damage to Coastguard, Navy, Railways and National Highways, among others, he said. Noting that farmers have also suffered huge crop losses, the Prime Minister said he would instruct insurance companies to process their claims "expeditiously and sympathetically".
He regretted that Andhra Pradesh had to face such a calamity soon after its bifurcation. The Prime Minister recalled how enthusiastically he had proposed making Visakhapatnam a smart city during his US visit days before the disaster struck but expressed confidence things would be normal "very soon".