'Affected people in Uttarakhand need our help', says PM

New Delhi/Dehradun, June 21 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has issued an appeal to the nation for generous donations to support the distressed fellow countrymen affected by cloud burst and floods in Uttarakhand.

Dr. Singh in his appeal urged the public to donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and actively participate in the national efforts to support the affected people.

The Prime Minister said 'extensive devastation' has been caused due to cloudbursts and floods in the state, and added that a large number of people have died and property worth crores of rupees has been damaged.

"At this moment, affected people need our help to tide over the calamity that has fallen upon them, to survive and to rebuild their lives. I request all citizens of India to stand with our distressed fellow countrymen, and actively participate in the national effort to support them at this difficult time," Dr. Singh said.

"I appeal to all citizens to donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund," he added.

The Prime Minister along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas in Uttarakhand earlier on Wednesday.

Expressing serious concern over the entire incident, Dr. Singh announced 1,000 crore rupee disaster flood relief for the state where flash floods have claimed over a hundred lives and left thousands of pilgrims to Himalayan shrines stranded.

"I have decided to provide an amount of Rs. 1000 crore to Uttarakhand for disaster relief, of which Rs. 145 crore is being released immediately. I have also directed all central agencies to render all possible assistance in their domain to the State," said Dr. Singh.

The Prime Minister said the immediate need is for rescue and relief operations and the government will not spare any effort in this regard.

Dr. Singh further said 'the Central and State Governments will continue to work in close coordination to ensure that every possible effort is made not only to provide immediate relief to the affected persons but also to help them reconstruct their lives'.

"Ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of those who have lost lives and Rs. 50,000 each to those who have been injured will be provided from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF)," said Dr. Singh.

"Further, we will also provide from the PMNRF ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 1 lakh each to those whose houses have been completely destroyed and Rs. 50,000 each to those whose houses have been damaged," he added.

Payment may be made by cheque or draft in the name of the PMNRF and sent to the Prime Minister's Office, South Block, New Delhi. Public sector banks will not charge any commission on drafts favouring the PMNRF.

Contributions can also be made through money orders and also directly in the account of PMNRF.

People can also make contributions online through www.pmindia.nic.in.

Over 30,000 pilgrims and tourists have so far been evacuated from different parts of the flood-affected areas mostly from Rudraprayag, Tehri, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh districts in Uttarakhand. Nearly 14,000 people are believed to be missing and another 60,000 are stranded.

Over 150 people are reported to be dead so far. The Uttarakhand State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre has in its report to the Union Home Ministry said that casualties in the affected areas may run into thousands with about 90 'dharamashalas' (rest houses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods. (ANI)