THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cabinet has decided to cancel all official Onam festivities and those planned by various government departments in the wake of the disaster. The money saved – Rs 30 crore – will be used for relief operations.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also requested the Centre to send another team to reassess flood damage in state as the extent of damage was much more than that was estimated previously. Only when the waters recede could the exact extent of damage be assessed, he added. The immediate assistance of Rs 100 crore, announced by Union minister Rajnath Singh, was a big gesture from the Centre, he said.

Chief minister asked all the government departments, public-sector undertakings and corporations and private companies to transfer the funds meant for organizing the Onam celebrations to the chief minister’s relief fund.

“It will not be proper for the government to celebrate Onam when it is involved in fund collection for disaster relief,’’ said the chief minister after the cabinet meeting.

He said so far 38 people had been killed in rain-related incidents and landslides. Four people are still missing. The government will declare 251 more villages as flood-affected, taking the total number in Kerala to 443. As per latest reports, landslides have occurred in 215 places and 20,000 houses have been destroyed. At present, 30,000 people are living in 439 relief camps.

The government has decided to conduct special adalats in flood-affected districts in September to help those who lost their important documents.

All banks have been asked not to insist on minimum balance in the accounts of people living in flood-affected areas. Government will be depositing compensation to their accounts.

To monitor effective and time-bound distribution of compensation to flood victims, a cabinet subcommittee has been constituted. The moratorium on loans taken by the people in flood-affected districts will be extended a year.

The state cabinet also urged all government employees to contribute their two days of salary to CMDRF. On Tuesday, more people and organisations came up with offer of support to the CMDRF. Tata Trust has decided to donate Rs 10 to the relief fund. Industrialist Ravi Pillai handed over Rs 5 crore to the chief minister when he called on him at his office on Tuesday. K Chittilappilly Foundation and V Guard Group will together provide give Rs 3 crore for flood relief and rebuilding damaged houses. The employees of these institutions will donate their wages for one day to this fund.

The nursing council donated Rs 5 crore to the disaster relief fund. The post-graduate doctor’s association has asked all the resident doctors to donate one-day’s salary towards this. They have also decided to offer their service in the relief camps.

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