Centre considers Kerala floods calamity of severe nature

Centre says it considers the devastating floods in Kerala as a calamity of severe nature. A Home Ministry official said, keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes.

In an affidavit before Kerala High Court on Monday, Centre said, it is treating the flood situation in the state as a Disaster of Serious Nature and has categorised the same as ‘L3 Level of Disaster’ under the National Disaster Management Guidelines.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has appealed to Members of Parliament of donate generously for the cause of Kerala flood victims.

Central government has decided to exempt basic customs duty and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) for the goods imported or supplied for flood relief operations in Kerala.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet that the country stands with Kerala in this hour of need. Sources said, a notification to this effect is likely to be issued today.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said DGCA is monitoring airfares for flights connecting Kerala.

He said the ministry as such cannot interfere with the fares but it is doing it in this time of crisis. Commercial flight operations from the naval airport at Kochi commenced on Monday.

Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport. Relief material, including provisions, water and fuel have started arriving at the Kochi port from different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Army, Navy, and NDRF teams continued their rescue and relief efforts. Army said, it will continue to be engaged in the rescue operations till the situation stabilises.

Southern Command chief Lt Gen DR Soni told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that Army’s medical teams will extend the first line of relief in co-ordination with the government.

Lt Gen said, there are inaccessible areas and army men will continue to reach out to people who need to be rescued.

K Santosh, director of India Meteorological Department’s Thiruvananthapuram centre said all s have been withdrawn and the state experienced only light to moderate rainfall on Monday. Similar precipitation has been forecast for the next five days.

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