Declare Chennai floods national calamity, Jayalalithaa urges PM Modi

"I request you to immediately declare this unprecedented, catastrophic and cataclysmic event a national calamity," she said in a letter to Modi.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 10, 2015 12:50 am
chennai floods, chennai rains, chennai floods news, chennai news, latest news, tamil nadu news, india news, floods in chennai, chennai floods, jayalalitha Chennai: Flood affected people after getting relief materials at Kotturpuram, one of the worst flood-hit localities in Chennai. PTI Photo

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare heavy rain and flood in the state a national

In a letter to Modi, she suggested a special set of measures for the Centre to consider and implement at the earliest as many households, mostly in the low and middle income groups, had lost their life savings.

She said that the flood-hit families had lost valuable personal belongings and household durable assets, which could not be adequately compensated through the existing structure of relief payments. Her letter also suggested that insurance companies could be directed to take up the survey and settlement of claims on war-footing.

For families that have lost their vehicles and household assets such as refrigerators and washing machines, Jayalalithaa suggested the Centre could get banks to extend soft loans for new purchases, and even education loans and personal loans up to Rs 5 lakh.

Jayalalithaa also requested that excise duty exemption be provided till March 31, 2016, for white goods (domestic electric appliances) and kitchen equipment to be sold in the flood-affected districts.

Requesting immediate action, she said, “I would be grateful if you could direct the Ministry of Finance to immediately formulate a liberal scheme as suggested and issue appropriate orders and guidelines.”

An official said there are 6,605 relief shelters in the state currently housing 17.16 lakh people. He said about 1.22 crore food packets had already been distributed and 25.65 lakh patients screened at 26,270 medical camps. As many as 49,329 people were screened through 222 medical camps and 97 mobile clinics on Wednesday.

“Some 3.79 lakh sanitary napkins were also distributed,” he added.

The Chennai city corporation is continuing a massive operation to clear over 1 lakh tonnes of sludge and garbage, said an official. In the last three days, an official said, more than 20,000 tonnes of garbage has been removed from the city.

“About 787 of the 859 waterlogged localities have been cleared by officials and massive efforts are on to remove water from remaining localities with 300 additional pump sets,” the official said.

The actual death toll and details of victims were yet to be ascertained even six days after the deluge, but data compiled by the police estimated some 514 deaths in the state.

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