Karnataka floods: Govt pegs loss at Rs 6,000 crore, toll rises to 24

The Karnataka government on Saturday pegged the damage caused by torrential downpour and subsequent floods in the state at Rs 6,000 crore even as the toll from various rain-related incidents stood at 24. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said this was the biggest calamity in 45 years adding his government has sought Rs 3,000 crore as relief from the Centre. We are planning to re-construct houses that were damaged in rains. Some of the villages have to be rebuilt completely, he told reporters here. So far 24 people have died in various rain-related incidents. As many as 2.35 lakh people have been moved to safety. As many as 222 head of livestock is dead and 44,013 head of cattle have been evacuated and provided shelter, he added. Rescue and relief work were being carried out by teams of personnel comprising NDRF and the armed forces, he said. Speaking about measures taken by the government, Yediyurappa said 624 relief centres have been opened where food, clothing, blankets, medicines and other facilities have been provided to1.58 lakh people taken shelter there. The government has assessed that 3,22,448 hectares of agricultural land have been damaged due to floods and landslides. As many as 243 PWD roads have been blocked while 2,450 km roads, 530 bridges, 56 public buildings have been damaged. Total estimate of the damage (to government property) is Rs 1,427 crore, Yediyurappa said. While heavy rain in neighbouring Maharashtra and in the State for the past one week caused floodsin North Karnataka, landslides compounded problems in the Malnad region and coastal areas, the chief minister said. The situation in Hassan, Chickmagalur, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts is also very serious due to incessant rainfall. Road and rail connectivity is affected in Mangaluru. Landslides inseveral parts of Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada has claimed precious lives, he added. The chief minister, who carried out aerial survey in Raichur, Yadgir, Vijayapura, Bagalkote and Belagavi district since August 5, said he had apprised the Prime Minister about the situation and sought additional funds and assistance. The Union government has responded very positively. We have availed services ofthe defence forces. Twenty teams of NDRF, 11 of the Army, 5 teams of Navy, 4 choppers from Air Force, police and the Fire and Emergencyservices and others are carrying out rescue operations, he said. Stating the situation in Karnataka compelled him to cut short his Delhi visit, Yediyurappa said he visited the flood hit regions of north Karnataka which were most affected and took stock of the situation. Speaking about the precautionary measures, he said the officers were strictly monitoring the quantity of water being released from dams in Maharashtra and villages alongside the rivers were alerted and people were shifted. He also claimed that inflow and outflow of water from dams in Malnad region was being systematically controlled. In this regard, the government decided that water to Tungabhadra and Hemavathi dams should be released to canals.