Navy says Kerala flood rescue operation was free

Indian navy
Navy personnel, who were part of the rescue mission code named "Operation Madad" in Kerala, had displayed their skills and courage in rescuing thousands of people from the worst floods experienced by the state in a century.
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Kochi: The Indian Navy on Monday said it has not given "any bill" to the Kerala government after carrying out rescue and relief operations during the deluge in August.

About 17,000 people, caught in the gushing waters in flood-ravaged Kerala, were rescued by the Navy.

"We have not given any bill to the state government," Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, told reporters here.

His statement came in response to a question on reports that some agencies involved in rescue efforts during the floods in August this year had given bills worth crores for rupees to the state government.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently said the state has to pay Rs 290 crore to the Centre towards the rations received and rescue assistance provided during the floods.

"Air Force has asked the state to pay over Rs 33.79 crore as the charge incurred for the rescue efforts during the deluge," Pinarayi said last week.

The vice admiral said according to the policy of the Indian Navy, expenses for humanitarian assistance are borne by the Navy itself.

He said the Navy considers such deployment "as part of our training.... it is part of our mandate and part of our operational deployment."

In all, the Indian Navy had rescued 16,843 people, of which 1,173 were airlifted.

Navy personnel, who were part of the rescue mission code named "Operation Madad" in Kerala, had displayed their skills and courage in rescuing thousands of people from the worst floods experienced by the state in a century.

Responding to another question on Indian Navy's injured sailor Commander Abhilash Tomy's return to his favourite sports, the vice admiral said he was sure that "he will be able to go back to sailing."

Abhilash had suffered severe injury when the main mast of his boat was ripped off in a storm in the high seas while participating in the Golden Globe Race in September.

"He suffered a very unfortunate accident. Fortunately, there was no injury to his spinal chord," the vice admiral added.

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