Kochi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh has announced
a Rs106 crore assistance to Kerala from the ''national
calamity contingency fund'' to immediately tide over the
devastation caused by tsunami. He said the government
will work towards developing an effective early warning
system for natural calamities like the devastating tsunami
and seek international assistance if required.
a press conference after touring the tsunami-affected
areas, Singh also clarified the conflicting reports on
the quake alert issued this morning which had sent fresh
waves of panic in the coastal belt. "We took precautions
and an alert warning was issued," he said, adding
"the moral is that we need to develop an early warning
system and if necessary, seek international assistance
in this regard."
prime minister said that several countries have offered
assistance and US president George Bush and several other
world leaders had spoken to him personally. He said he
had thanked these leaders but told them that "As
of now, we have adequate resources to meet this challenge.
If and when we need their help, we will inform them."
about leader of opposition L K Advani''s suggestion about
providing insurance cover to the people affected by such
disasters, especially the fishing community, the PM said,
"we are willing to consider all innovative measures
to provide more effective protection for natural disasters.
We are open to all suggestions, including insurance mechanism,
to tackle such grave national crisis."
said that the government had planned to set up a national
disaster management agency to strengthen the capacity
of states and districts to deal with such disasters and
would look at all possible dangers and work out an effective
contingency programme. Asked about problems faced by tourists
who have lost their travel documents and were awaiting
evacuation, the PM said some difficulties have been faced
by them in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
have mobilised all our resources and that problem has
been effectively sorted out," he said, adding that
the government would take a "humanitarian view"
and not allow legal proceedings to come in the way. The
PM also made it clear that the government would not allow
legal formalities come in the way for facilitating the
return of international tourists who might have lost their
travel documents. "If
there is lack of documents, we will take a humanitarian
view and not allow legal formalities to affect adequate
response to the challenge that we face," Singh said.