Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called up Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and assured central assistance to tackle the flood situation in the state.
Briefing the prime minister, Mr Singh said he had toured the worst-hit districts of Kapurthala and Tarn Taran, an official spokesperson said. He said there had been significant damage to crops in areas around the Beas river.
The chief minister said he had ordered a special 'girdawari' (survey to assess losses), which will commence after waters recede.
After making brief enquiries, the Prime Minister promised all possible help in mitigating the situation, the spokesperson said.
Thanking PM Modi for his assurance, the chief minister said once the girdawai process was completed he would apprise the PM of the situation.
Earlier in the day, Mr Singh surveyed Tarn Taran and Kapurthala districts to assess damage caused by the overflowing Beas river.
The Chief Minister said the special 'girdawari' would be completed at the earliest, which would pave the way for release of compensation to affected farmers, read an official press release.
The chief minister announced that compensation would be provided to people whose houses had been damaged. Incessant rains in the past few days in Punjab had caused damage to crops at several places.
While directing the district officials to closely monitor the situation and ensure timely assistance to people affected by the floods, the chief minister described the damage to the crops in areas around the Beas river as "considerable".
He, however, said the situation was not as bad as he had envisaged before leaving for the aerial survey. He said reports of some crop damage have also been received from the districts of Gurdaspur and Amritsar, besides Tarn Taran and Kapurthala.
Allaying fears of farmers that the Food Corporation of India will not procure their produce due to high moisture content this year, the chief minister said he had already taken up the matter with the concerned authorities.
"You will not face any problems in procurement", he assured farmers.
In Tarn Taran, the chief minister was briefed by the district officials about the flood situation. He later met the residents of the area and assured them that his government will provide all possible help to those whose crops and houses had been damaged by the incessant rains and floods.
The chief minister said Punjab had rejected the union government' crop insurance scheme, as it was against the interests of the farmers as well as of the state.
He said if the Centre does not alter the scheme to meet the requirements of Punjab, the state government would come out with its own insurance policy for the benefit of farmers.
He said at present the compensation to farmers will be paid from the state government's calamity fund.
The chief minister later visited the Mand area of Sultanpur Lodhi and met the farmers, whose crops had suffered extensive damage due to flooding.
Responding to their demand that all pontoon bridges in the district should be replaced with permanent ones, the chief minister said he will take up the matter with the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The chief minister said he will also seek funds from the centre for the construction of spurs to protect river banks in river Beas for preventing floods in the future.
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