The Centre on Thursday declared the floods in Tamil Nadu as “calamity of severe nature” even as Opposition questioned ruling AIADMK’s handling of discharge of excess water from a city lake during the heavy downpour.
She also said that the Parliament Secretariat had issued a circular to MPs stating that they can allot Rs 1 crore worth renovation and rehabilitation efforts in the flood-affected districts from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
While the state government would apprise lawmakers of the requirement in the respective districts on this matter, her party (AIADMK) MPs, totalling 49 in both Houses, had already been asked to contribute Rs 1 crore each from MPLADS, she said.
The state government said 347 persons had died and over 3,300 heads of cattle lost so far, but rehabilitation work had been taken up in full swing.
Over 17.64 lakh people were rescued and sheltered in 6,605 relief centres across the state while over 1.28 crore food packets have been distributed, it was officially stated.
An amount of Rs 67.47 crore has been disbursed among over 1.11 lakh families as immediate relief.
The Opposition parties, which had been critical of the Jayalalithaa government over its handling of the northeast monsoon, demanded a probe into the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir here, which flooded Adyar river, resulting in heavy inundation of the embankments.
DMK President M Karunanidhi levelled allegations of red-tapism, citing news reports.
He sought the government’s response on allegations of it not properly handling the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into the Adyar river.
“Sad-faced people of Tamil Nadu are awaiting a response from the AIADMK government, especially from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa,” he said in a statement.
To ascertain facts behind this issue, a proper probe should be ordered into it, he demanded.
His son and party Treasurer M K Stalin also made similar remarks, but the government shot back saying it had properly executed its responsibilities.
Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan said it was due to government’s prompt work that people were moved in quick time before the river went in spate, which averted loss of life. However, there was damage to property, he admitted.
CPI(M) state Secretary G Ramakrishnan blamed “official apathy” for the disaster and alleged that red-tapism over discharge of water had resulted in such a damage.
He demanded that an inquiry commission under a sitting High Court Judge be formed with the members, including water management experts, to probe lapses and fix responsibility.
PMK founder S Ramadoss said the problems arising out of the post-rains scenario cannot be solved by writing letters to the Prime Minister, saying “political pressure” must be exerted on the Centre to get results.
An all-party meeting should be convened to discuss the matter after which Jayalalithaa should lead a delegation of members from all political parties to meet the Prime Minister to take up the issue, he urged.
BJP state President Tamizhisai Sounderrajan said the government should come out with a detailed water management for the future.