The Kerala High Court today sought a clarification from the state government on its proposal to set up a separate fund for carrying out flood-relief operations.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar, sought the clarification on a Public Interest Litigation filed by A A Shibi from Idukki, seeking to declare the recent floods as a 'national calamity'.
The government informed the court that the money collected in the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) would not be diverted for any other purposes.
Everything is properly accounted for, the government said.
Meanwhile, in a statement before the HC, it said that as far as the post-disaster phase was concerned, the state government and the Kerala Disaster Management Authority were undertaking various rehabilitation and reconstruction activities based on the damage assessment.
Preliminary estimates put the total loss caused by the floods at about Rs 20,000 crores (up to August 17), it said, adding the long-term effects of the disaster would be difficult to assess at this stage.
This is indicative of the enormity of the challenges facing the state in rehabilitation and reconstruction, the government said.
It said the government's strategy, in tune with the current global approach, would be to take the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase as an opportunity to "Build Back Better" (BBB) -- integrating disaster-risk reduction into development measures, making communities resilient to disasters.
The approach would be comprehensive so as to convert adversity into opportunity, it said.
Additional systems for providing psycho-social support and trauma counselling need to be developed for implementation during the reconstruction and recovery phase, it said.
The rehabilitation package will include total reconstruction of the damaged physical infrastructure, as well as the economic and social rehabilitation of the people in the affected areas, it said.
The rehabilitation package will involve efforts and financial commitments far beyond the state's resources.
The government would therefore explore all possibilities of Central aid as well as international assistance within the framework of the National Disaster Management Plan, 2016, it said.
The government informed the court that for the purpose of rehabilitation, reconstruction and dealing with environmental issues, a comprehensive plan would be prepared in consultation with experts and stakeholders.
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