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    Rain: High-level meet held

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The district administration has pressed the panic button with the monsoon making its presence here each day with rising vigour. Minister for Transport V S Sivakumar, who is also the elected representative of Thiruvananthapuram constituency, on Monday convened a high-level meeting to discuss the possibilities of monsoon-related calamities and also the steps needed to avert them.
     In the meeting, which identified the dirt-filled water bodies, including the Parvathy Puthanar, Amayizhanjan Thodu, Kannammoola Thodu and Kariyila stream, as the main cause of flood in the city, decided to disburse ` 125 lakh from the district relief fund to clean the streams. A side wall will also be built along the branch of Parvathy Puthanar from Chakkai to Karikkakom with this fund.  
     The Minister also instructed all the agencies to complete their ongoing works in the district on a war-footing, anticipating the monsoon to intensify in the coming days. Stress is also on resurfacing the roads, filling the potholes and also cleaning the clogged up drainage system in the city, which was the main reason for flood in Thampanoor and Fort regions during heavy rains.
     Sivakumar said that all families affected by the rain will be given free ration for a week. A consolation of ` 1 lakh will be given to the two families whose houses were destroyed completely in the rain and ` 35,000 each to 140 more families whose houses were damaged. Among these families, those with students will be given an extra ` 2,000 each to buy study materials and uniforms.
     The other three MLAs in the Thiruvananthapuram Taluk, V S Sivankutty, Jameela Prakasam and M A Vahid, along with the District Collector Dinesh Arora, attended the meeting. They chipped in their opinions on the things that can be done to prevent the calamities, besides pointing out the problem areas in their own constituencies.
     The District Collector, following the meeting, said that he would also provide ` 10 lakh for the Fire and Rescue units in the district to purchase chainsaws and water pumps, that are essential in carrying out rescue operations during monsoon. The Fire and Rescue units have been facing acute shortage of necessary equipment.
     The authorities of various departments and agencies like Public Works Department (PWD), Kerala Water Authority (KWA), City Police, Fire and Rescue Services, National Highway Authority (NHA), Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), Trivandrum Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban  Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)-sponsored drinking water project were also present.