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PM conducts aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas in Gujarat, announces Rs 1,000 crore relief package

Fifty-three people-30 males and 23 females-from 13 districts have been killed in Gujarat as cyclone Tauktae pummelled parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast, uprooting electric poles, trees and damaging hundreds of houses and roads.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: May 19, 2021 10:58:53 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes an aerial survey of cyclone Tauktae affected areas of Gujarat, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (PTI Photo)

After an aerial survey of cyclone Tauktae affected areas in Gujarat on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a relief package of Rs 1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in the state. He also announced ex gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of those killed due to the cyclone in the state and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

Fifty-three people-30 males and 23 females-from 13 districts have been killed in Gujarat as cyclone Tauktae pummelled parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast, uprooting electric poles, trees and damaging hundreds of houses and roads.

Maximum casualties, official sources said, were reported from the Amreli district where16 people were reported to be killed. The 16 deceased in Amreli include eight males and eight females. Deaths in other districts include nine in Gir Somnath-another worst affected district where the cyclone made a landfall in its Una taluka-eight in Bhavnagar followed by 7 in Ahmedabad, three each in Kheda and Panchmahal, one each in Rajkot, Surat, NAvsari, Anand, Vadodara, Valsad and Patan.

Sources also said that the extent of damage in the state could be well beyond Rs 3,000 crore. The central government will also deploy an inter-ministerial team which will visit the state to assess the extent of damage caused by the cyclone.

Also, officials revealed that three boats have reported to be drowned in Amreli’s Siyalbet village. Further, sources revealed that in the initial survey, 1505 pukka private houses have been 635 livestock has been reported to be killed in the cyclone distruction. Another, 370 government buildings and nearly 30,000 kutch-pukka mixed houses have been damaged across the state.

The Prime Minister undertook an aerial survey of the three worst affected districts in Gir Somnath (Una), Amreli (Jafrabad) and Bhavnagar (Mahua) in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu on Wednesday. Later in the day, he chaired a meeting at the Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Limited (GUJSAIL) complex, near the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, to review the relief and rehabilitation measures being undertaken in Gujarat and Diu.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who also accompanied the PM during the aerial survey, senior officials including chief principal secretary to the CM K Kailashnathan, chief secretary Anil Mukim, additional chief secretary revenue department Pankaj Kumar, principal secretary health Jayanti Ravi, secretary science and technology department Hareet Shukla and commissioner of relief Harshad Patel were present at the review meeting where the PM was briefed about the estimated damages and impact of the cyclone.

“The PM announced a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore, for immediate relief activities, to Gujarat. Subsequently, Union Government will deploy an inter-ministerial team to visit the state to assess the extent of damage in the state, based on which further assistance will be given,” a statement released by the Press Information Bureau stated.

As per preliminary estimate, the highest damage has been incurred to the power sector. Nearly 70,000 electric poles were flattened due to the cyclone while electricity lines of major power sub-stations have also been damaged. Complete blackout after power outages was reported from more than 9,600 villages, of which the state government claimed to have restored supply in over 5,400 villages. The worst affected villages were along the coastal areas of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Jamnagar, Gir Somnath.

Power supply to other districts of Anand, Kheda, Mahisagar and Vadodara, too, was affected along with districts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, and Aravalli.

Official sources said the damage will be well beyond Rs 3,000 crore. “Rs 3000 crore damage will be only of the Energy department and Roads & Buildings department. The exact data of the extent of damage will be known only after a survey is conducted on damage to the agriculture sector. So, the damage will certainly well beyond Rs 3,000 crore,” said a senior government official.

The PM, meanwhile, has assured to extend all possible assistance for restoration and rebuilding of the infrastructure in the affected areas. During his visit, he also took stock of the situation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. The state administration apprised the PM of the response measures being taken and the PM stressed on the need for adoption of preventive measures.

Besides Gujarat, the ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured in the cyclone has been also announced for states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and the UTs of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Immediate financial assistance for these states would also be given after the respective state governments would share their assessments with the Centre, the government statement said.

“PM Modi said that we have to continue the focus towards more scientific studies relating to disaster management. He called for devoting more focus to enhancing intra-state coordination as well as using modern communication techniques to ensure quicker evacuation from the affected areas. He also called for immediate attention to be devoted to repairing the damaged houses and properties across affected areas,” the release added.

Meanwhile, Gujarat CM announced that he will visit the cyclone-affected areas in person after holding an aerial survey on Thursday. An official release said the CM will first do an aerial survey of affected regions of Una, Jafrabad and Rajula, and thereafter he will visit the three areas in person and also hold meetings with officials to get an estimate of the damage, the release added.

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