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'India standing by Nepal in hour of crisis'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, April 27: The government on Monday condoled the deaths in the devastating earthquake in Nepal that has also affected parts of India, and said it was standing by its own people as well as its neighbour in their hour of crisis. Home Minister Rajth Singh gave details in the Lok Sabha of the relief and rescue efforts that were currently underway in the Himalayan tion, and assured the quake victims of “every possible help”. “We condole the loss of lives here in India and Nepal. The people of Nepal are part of our family. I want to assure that India is with its people and with the people of Nepal in this hour of crisis,” he said.

Hailing the promptness shown by Prime Minister rendra Modi in responding to the crisis, Rajth Singh said a high-level meeting was immediately called to take stock of the situation and discuss relief operations. “As home minister, I should have been aware but it is he who informed me,” he said. Saturday’s earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, and its aftershocks in Nepal have left over 3,700 people dead and 6,500 injured.

The toll in India, where over 60 people died till Sunday, continues to rise. Parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal were affected by the temblor. Rajth Singh said 10 teams of the tiol Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already in Kathmandu and six more are on their way. An engineering task force and 18 medical units have also been rushed.

“One Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is also on the way,” he said, adding that an inter-ministerial team headed by a top home ministry official was being sent along with 250 high frequency wireless sets to coordite rescue and relief work. The home minister thanked the governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for setting up relief camps along the border with Nepal and plying buses to evacuate people. Communication experts have also been rushed to Nepal to restore the damaged and destroyed communication system in the country. “We are also helping foreigners. We have decided to give free visas to those willing to come to India. Immigration facilities have been set up in this regard,” he added.

Members of the Lok Sabha decided to dote a month’s salary for the relief work in Nepal. A proposal by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah idu in this regard was quickly accepted by the opposition. Earlier, participating in the discussion on the quake, the members asked if there were any methods to predict such big quakes.v Trimool Congress member Saugata Roy expressed surprise that there was no previous warning about the quake in India “which took us all by surprise”. He asked the government to examine whether high-rise buildings in big cities were earthquake resistant. He also sought to know how much money was released from the tiol Disaster Magement Fund for the relief efforts. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said efforts should be made to predict such tural disasters. Yogi Adityath of the BJP praised the government for its quick response to the crisis and said the Himayalas were an ecologically fragile zone which is being tampered with. “Forests have been destroyed in Tibet and now a tunnel is being made through the Himalayas. These have affected the ecologically fragile Himalayas,” he said. (IANS)

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