Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while demanding immediate release of financial aid from the Centre, told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the losses suffered by Maharashtra suffered as a result of Cyclone Nisarga and the heavy rain in Mumbai last week are estimated to be over ₹1,500 crore.

Mr. Modi had held a video conference with CMs of six States — Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh — suffering from natural calamities such as heavy rainfall and floods. During the meeting, Mr. Thackeray said, “A national level committee, led by PM Modi, should be set up, which will work towards better coordination between States during times of natural calamity, and also ensure speedy relief action.”

Mr. Thackeray’s statement comes from the background of lack of coordination between Maharashtra and Karnataka last year, resulting is massive floods in western Maharashtra. He also demanded that the inter-State flood management system have representation from the Central government. The video conference was also attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan along with officials from the Central government and National Disaster Response Force.

Massive losses in Mumbai

The CM told Mr. Modi that Mumbai had faced losses worth ₹500 crore in just one day due to the heavy rainfall on August 5. “Location under possession of central government’s Commerce ministry can be handed over to Mumbai’s civic body to set up Mahul pumping station. This will help to drain water at Hindmata, Dadar and Vadala,” Mr. Thackeray said.

He also highlighted that authorities chose the easy way out for developmental projects, which damages the environment.

Protecting biodiversity

“The proposed broad gauge conversion of Akola-Khandva meter gauge can be taken outside Melghat Tiger project. It will not help tigers but also be more useful for people,” Mr. Thackeray said, adding that Maharashtra will always take the lead in protecting biodiversity.

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