The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonia to visit flood-hit areas

Patna, Aug. 6: The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, and Union home minister Shivraj Patil would assess flood situation in Bihar tomorrow.

Sonia and Patil would start an aerial survey of flood-affected areas from Purnea, would stop at Samastipur to talk to flood-hit people and reach Patna in the evening after taking rounds of other flood-hit districts.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar said Patil would speak to senior officials after assessing flood situation.

Kumar has already asked the Centre for foodgrain through Food Corporation of India to stock it to distribute it among flood-affected people.

State Congress spokesperson Premchand Mishra said the Congress president would hold a brief meeting with senior party functionaries here.

The AICC general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Digvijay Singh, would also accompany Sonia during the trip.

Meanwhile, the state government today announced a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh to the next of kin of each person who died because of flood. By this afternoon, 81 deaths were reported. About 10 people are feared drowned in a boat mishap at Sahebganj. So far, four bodies have been fished out.

A spokesperson at chief minister’s house said: “A high-level meeting led by the chief minister decided that instead of Rs 1 lakh, a flood victim kin would get Rs 1.5 lakh each.”

Kumar met flood-hit people at Madhubani today and handed over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the family of Darshan Thakur, killed in police firing two days ago.

Four IAF helicopters took at least four rounds of Begusarai, Samastipur, Madhubani and East Champaran to airdrop food packets.

About 6,000 food packets were air-dropped today. Over 1.15 crore people from 19 districts are flood-affected. The state has received the worst-effect rainfall in the past 30 years.


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