Monday, July 30, 2001,
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Vajpayee to visit Pak
Denies pressure; announces 435 cr aid for Orissa

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee addressing a Press conference.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee addressing a Press conference at Orissa Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. 
PTI photo

Bhubaneswar, July 29
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said he was not under any pressure either from his own party or any other NDA constituent to call off his visit to Pakistan and asserted he was going ahead with the trip.

No pressure. I dont work under any pressure, he told newspersons when asked whether he was under any pressure either from the BJP or any other NDA constituent to give up his proposed visit to Pakistan.

I have accepted the invitation of the Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf. However, the timing of my visit and the venue where we will meet are yet to be decided, he said.

Mr Vajpayee was on a visit to Orissa to review the flood situation in the state. Referring to the observation of BJP President Jana Krishnamurthi that certain norms should be fixed for the entry of parties into the NDA alliance, following reports of the possible re-entry of the Trinamool Congress into the NDA, Mr Vajpayee said Mr Krishnamurthi made a good suggestion.

In fact, I am working on this suggestion, he added.

An aerial view of a marooned village in Cuttack district of Orissa.
An aerial view of a marooned village in Cuttack district of Orissa. PTI photo

Meanwhile, Mr Vajpayee today announced an additional assistance of Rs 435 crore in the form of foodgrains and housing for flood-ravaged Orissa.

After making an extensive aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of the state and reviewing the situation at a high-level meeting, Mr Vajpayee said the state government had requested the Centre for additional three lakh tonnes of rice valued at Rs 210 crore and one lakh additional dwelling units under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) estimated to cost Rs 225 crore.

These requests of the state government would be met, he said before his departure for New Delhi.

Additional financial assistance required by the state government would also be considered soon after submission of a detailed memorandum by it, Mr Vajpayee said.

He said the rice would be utilised for undertaking food-for-work programme in the flood-ravaged areas and the IAY dwelling units would be provided to the affected people below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, the Union Ministries of Power, Transport and Urban Development would take steps for assisting the state government in restoring power and transport utilities and in providing soft loan through HUDCO for rebuilding houses for people above the poverty line, he said.

Mr Vajpayee said the devastating floods, coming soon after the 1999 super cyclone and the recent drought, had put the people and the administration to a severe test.

While complimenting the state government for undertaking relief and rescue measures in a prompt and effective manner, Mr Vajpayee also recorded his appreciation for the good work done by defence personnel deployed in the flooded areas.

The challenge of rehabilitation of the affected people was enormous, he said, adding that the Centre had already released Rs100 crore as advance from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF).

The Union Finance Ministry had also issued instructions to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to permit overdrafts up to Rs 220 crore for the state, he said.

The Orissa Government, which had already submitted an interim memorandum during the visit of a Central team, led by the then Union Agriculture Minister Mr Nitish Kumar on July 19, presented a revised memorandum to the Prime Minister today seeking financial assistance of Rs 733.85 crore. PTIBack

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