Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday announced an immediate relief package of Rs 350 crores for flood-ravaged Surat city from the National Calamity Contingency Fund after making an aerial survey of the affected areas.
Dr Singh said he will soon send a Central team to assess the situation after which further assistance would be announced.
The prime minister was talking to reporters at Vadodara airport after making an aerial survey of Surat. Expressing grief for the death of the people in the flood, he announced an ex gratia of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.
"Three million residents of the Surat city have been undergoing severe hardships over the last few days. Houses have been completely flooded. People have been stranded," Dr Singh said, adding that electricity and water supply have stopped, telephone communications have been completely disrupted and road and rail communication have stopped.
Dr Singh assured to provide all possible assistance for the vibrant industrial city, which is the diamond hub of India and a centre of textile and chemical industry, to help it recover from the crisis.
During the aerial survey, the prime minister was accompanied by the Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan and other top officials.
Later, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi told newsmen against the state's interim demand of assistance of Rs 2,000 crore, the Centre had given only Rs 350 crore. "The announcement of Central assistance of Rs 150 crore announced by the Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is not central assistance but a share of Gujarat from the Calamity Relief Fund," Modi said.
Modi said he had sought Central assistance of Rs 21,675 crore after the flood created havoc in the state. According to preliminary estimate, Surat city alone has suffered a loss of Rs 15,000 crore, he added.