E Palaniswami visits districts hit by Cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu, distributes relief material
E Palaniswami had announced Rs 1000 crore for immediate relief and rehabilitation works in areas affected by Cyclone Gaja
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday visited districts hit by Cyclone 'Gaja' in the state and distributed relief material among the affected people.
Palaniswami, who on Monday announced Rs 1000 crore for immediate relief and rehabilitation works, visited affected areas in Pudukottai and Thanjavur districts this morning. The cyclone crossed the state coast near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district, about 300 km from here, on 16 November claiming 46 lives and leaving a trail of destruction in over ten districts in southern Tamil Nadu with six of them hit badly.
Accompanied by ministers and officials, Palaniswami inspected some coconut groves devastated by the cyclone in Thanjavur district and also distributed relief materials, including rice and other essential articles, to the affected people. He would later visit Nagapattinam district, which bore the brunt of the cyclone fury.
On Monday, Palaniswami took stock of the situation at a high-level meeting here and announced an immediate cash assistance totalling Rs 8,800 to each family sheltered in relief camps besides, 10 kg rice and four litres of kerosene. He has also said compensation would be given to farmers and fishermen.
In a statement, Palaniswami had said the toll in the cyclone has risen to 46, while a total of 2,51,674 people were staying in relief camps. He said Rs 5,000 would be given as immediate livelihood support to each family lodged in cyclone centres, to those who lost their homes and fishermen who lost their boats. Besides, Rs 3,800 per family would be given for buying clothes and utensils, he said.
In addition, people whose huts were completely damaged will be provided with Rs 10,000 assistance while partially damaged houses will get Rs 4,100. The state will also seek central funds considering the extent of the damage, he said. He said coconut farmers will get a compensation of Rs 2.64 lakh per hectare while for paddy crops it will be Rs 13,500 per hectare.
On the farm front, 88, 102 hectares of agricultural and horticultural crops had been damaged. The chief minister has also said compensation ranging from Rs 42,000 to Rs three lakh would be given to fishermen depending on the extent of damage to their fishing boats. The cyclone which crossed the coast with a speed of up to 120 kmph has left a trail of destruction, uprooting 1.7 lakh trees and damaging 88,102 hectares of agricultural land.
It caused severe damage in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur in the state and Karaikal in Puducherry, besides affecting Dindigul, Sivaganga, Tiruchirappalli, Cuddalore, Karur and Theni districts also. Over 1.31 lakh people had been accommodated in relief camps in Nagapattinam district.
Protests were held by residents in parts of Thanjavur and Thiruvarur districts on Monday, demanding early restoration of power and drinking water supply.
Facing flak over alleged tardy relief measures, the state government has said people should not think that only such protests would solve their problems and asserted it was working to reach out to all.
On Sunday, irate people in Kotthamangalam village in Puthukottai district had gone on a rampage, setting ablaze government vehicles and clashed with police, protesting alleged failure of officials to provide them relief.