Kerala Plans Interest-Free Loans As Huge Rebuilding Task Looms: 10 Points

More than 200 people have died since August 8 in the Kerala floods, the worst to hit the coastal state in a century.

Kerala Plans Interest-Free Loans As Huge Rebuilding Task Looms: 10 Points

Kerala floods: Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. (Reuters)

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is contemplating interest-free loans for families whose homes have been destroyed by the floods in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. These loans, which can go up to Rs 1 lakh, may be provided to the female head of the family and the government will pay for the interest, Mr Vijayan said. Kerala has been devastated by the worst floods in the state in a century that have claimed 231 lives since August 8, destroyed over 26,000 homes, and washed away roads and bridges. More than 10 lakh people are sheltering in thousands of relief camps.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. According to Mr Vijayan, early estimates suggest the loss has been worth around Rs 20,000 crore which is equal to the state's planned expenditure for the current financial year.

  2. The Chief Minister said Kerala should be treated on a different yardstick for extending assistance. This was because, he said, Kerala is densely populated and the entire state had infrastructure facilities such as good roads, communication network and hospitals - many of which now have to be rebuilt.

  3. More than 26,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed and crops spread over 40,000 hectares lost, Mr Vijayan said, adding, "We have lost more than two lakh poultry and at least 46,000 milch animals."

  4. The magnitude of the devastation is reflected in the fact that a vast area of the state still remains submerged in floodwaters, the chief minister said.

  5. Floods have washed away several multi-storeyed buildings, shops, commercial establishments and even bridges, he said.

  6. Telecommunication network and electricity lines have been damaged. The power sector suffered losses of around Rs 750 crore while damage to water supply infrastructure was close to Rs 900 crore, he said.

  7. The Chief Minister has said the state will seek to borrow more than Rs 1,000 crore to finance reconstruction work.

  8. Kerala will ask the centre to raise the state's borrowing ceiling to 4.5 per cent of its GDP from 3 per cent, which will help raise an additional Rs 1,000 crore from the market, Mr Vijayan said.

  9. "Our aim is not merely a restoration of the state to pre-flood times, but the creation of a new Kerala," Mr Vijayan told reporters.

  10. The central government has classified the floods as a "calamity of severe nature" and has committed Rs 600 crore in interim relief so far.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)

(Kerala has to rebuild itself after the worst floods in over a century. Hundreds have died and lakhs are homeless. Here is how you can help.)

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