Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa on Monday filed defamation cases against dailies Dinamalar (Tamil) and Times of India (English) for their reportage on the reasons for the Chennai floods.
The case was filed by the city public prosecutor on behalf of Jayalalithaa, said Jaya TV.
According to the petition, the two newspapers published news reports defamatory of the state government and Jayalalithaa even after a clarification issued by Chief Secretary K.Gnanadesikan on the process followed while opening the sluice gates of the Chembarambakkam lake and the reason for Chennai going under water last month.
The newspapers had reported that the opening of Chembarambakkam gates to let out the surplus water was delayed due to bureaucratic red tape.
Refuting the allegations, Gnanadesikan, in a statement on December 13, said the flooding of Chennai city was not due to official indecision or mismanagement of release of water from the Chembarambakkam lake into the Adyar river, and was caused primarily due to the very high rainfall in November, which was followed by more rain in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts on December 1.
Floods killed 470 people: Jaya
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday said the "unprecedented" northeast monsoon has killed 470 people and nearly a lakh livestock apart from damaging crops in over 3.83 lakh hectares in the state.
Detailing the large-scale destruction caused by heavy rains in four phases during October-December 2015, she recalled her demand for a central assistance of Rs 25,912.45 crore for the relief and restoration works.
Noting that the Central team of Inter-Ministerial officials, which earlier assessed the damage caused in the first three phases of rains, will visit the state again from Tuesday for a similar exercise, she expressed hope the Centre will release the "required" assistance based on its report.
Jayalalithaa said despite the state's preparedness, the damage was "huge" on account of the "unprecedented" rains that caused a deluge affecting Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallore, Cuddalore, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts.
In a detailed statement, she said 470 persons had been killed in various rain-related incidents, most of them between 28 October and 31 December, 2015.
"During the northeast monsoon period between 1 and 27 October, as many as 49 persons died. Four hundred and twenty one persons died of various reasons including drowning, electrocution, lightning strike and wall collapse between 28 October and 31 December, 2015," she said.
Although the northeast monsoon season stretches between 1 October to 31 December, it had set late on 28 October in 2015, she said.
The government had provided relief of Rs four lakh each to families of 245 victims and the rest will be covered in the coming days, she said.
The chief minister pegged the area of crop loss at 3,82,768 hectares.
Over 3.47 lakh hectares of agricultural crops and 35,471 hectares of horticultural crops have suffered damage, she said adding 68,350 farmers had been compensated with Rs 29.48 crore. The rest will be covered soon, she said.
A total of 30.42 lakh families had suffered partial or complete damage to their dwelling units, including huts, with the government completing the survey of 14 lakh families in this connection, she said.
She gave the relief amount to five persons on Monday to mark the launch of the efforts and the cash assistance for the identified 14 lakh families will be deposited on Mnday in their bank accounts, she said adding the rest will be covered by 11 January.
The government had announced measures like cash compensation for damage to houses, besides providing rice and kerosene, she recalled.
As far as livestock were concerned, about 98,000 cattle, poultry, goats and pigs had perished during the monsoon and a compensation of Rs 7.78 crore has been disbursed so far, she said adding Rs 12.82 crore has been provided for loss sustained by fishing community, which includes boats.
"My government is expediting the cash assistance to people affected by the unprecedented rains. Today (Monday), Rs 700 crore worth relief was distributed. The rest will be given by 11 January," she said.
The chief minister, facing Opposition flak over the handling of the rains and subsequent floods, reiterated that though her government was prepared to face the monsoon, the unprecedented downpour had resulted in large-scale damage, prompting the Centre to declare it as "Calamity of Severe Nature."
State and Central government agencies besides the armed forces were quickly pressed into service for relief and rehabilitation efforts and essentials and medical services were promptly delivered, she said.
IANS & PTI