NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India would try its best to "wipe the tears" of the people of Nepal and do all it can to help them tide over the crisis following the devastating earthquake.
"My dear brothers and sisters of Nepal, India is with you in this hour of grief. .... For 125 crore Indians, Nepal is their own. India will do its best to wipe the tears of every Nepali, hold their hands and stand with them," PM Modi said in his radio programme 'Mann ki Baat' on Sunday.
Sharing his pain over a series of natural calamities hitting the region in the recent past including yesterday's quake in Nepal, Modi said he was anguished and did not feel like going ahead with his radio address today.
"When I spoke to you last month, hailstorms and unseasonal rains had occurred, devastating the farmers. A few days ago, a storm hit Bihar killing many people and causing a lot of damage. And now on Saturday, this devastating earthquake has shaken the whole world.
"It seems a series of natural disasters has begun. The quake has also killed many people in different states of India. Property has also been damaged. But the destruction and damage in Nepal is massive," he said, adding he could feel the pain of the people of Nepal as he had himself seen the January 2001 earthquake devastation in the Kutchh region of Gujarat from close quarters.
Noting that the immediate priority was to rescue as many people as possible who are trapped under debris, Modi said the relief and rehabilitation work after the rescue operations will go on for a long time.
"There could still be people alive under the debris and they have to be rescued. We have sent teams of experts. Along with them, we have also sent sniffer dogs specially trained to sniff out those alive from under the rubble. Our focus will be to rescue as many people alive as possible," the Prime Minister said.
The government today announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the families of those who lost their lives in the powerful quake that struck various parts of India leaving 53 dead.
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, bordering Nepal, were the worst-hit parts of India in yesterday's quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale.
"GoI has announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to families of those who lost their lives in the Earthquake across parts of India," PMO said in a tweet.
According to the Home Ministry, the toll in the quake in India has climbed to 53 while 240 were injured.
In Uttar Pradesh, 11 deaths took place and 69 people were injured while in West Bengal 2 persons perished and 35 were injured in the quake. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is himself monitoring the situation and has issued directives to ensure timely relief for those affected.
He has directed immediate dispatch of rescue and relief teams, including medical staff, to the affected areas.