The Tamil Nadu government Thursday sought about Rs 15,000 crore as central assistance towards relief and rehabilitation activities in Cyclone Gaja-hit districts of the state.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here with a plea for central assistance for various sectors in the affected districts, said the death toll from Cyclone Gaja stood at 63.
“I have submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister detailing the extent of the damage caused by the cyclone,” he told reporters in Delhi, adding the state has sought about Rs 15,000 crore.
He said he had also urged Modi to depute a central team to assess the damage, besides seeking an immediate release of nearly Rs 1500 crore towards “temporary renovation” activities.
To this, the Prime Minister has given an assurance to depute a central team soon, the chief minister said.
According to the abstract of the memorandum submitted to Modi by the Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu has sought a total sum of Rs 14,910 crore towards permanent renovation activities in various areas, including the power sector which has been badly hit.
Over one lakh electric poles had been uprooted and a significant number of power sub-stations damaged, with reports suggesting that many parts are still without power.
Cyclone Gaja had crossed the state coast early on November 16 between Nagapattinam, about 300 km from here, and nearby Vedaranyam.
The Tamil Nadu government has already released a sum of Rs 1000 crore for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas.
Palaniswami further said the death toll stood at 63, even as 3.41 lakh houses were damaged, while 1.04 lakh heads of cattle and birds perished following the cyclone.
Noting that as many as 11.32 lakh trees had been uprooted, he said 7.27 lakh of them have been cleared.
Around 3.78 lakh people were lodged in about 550 relief camps, even as relief and renovation work was on, he said.
Over 1.03 lakh electric poles were either uprooted or mangled and 40 per cent of them have been repaired.
Supply of electricity and drinking water was also being gradually restored, he added.
Recalling the compensation provided to families of deceased (Rs 10 lakh), he said it was more than what the earlier DMK government had given during cyclones in 2008 and 2010. The DMK had given Rs two lakh, he claimed.
Asked why he had not visited the affected areas by road, Palaniswami shot back, saying DMK President and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin could not cover much ground when they travelled by road to the affected parts.
He had taken a helicopter from Tiruchirappalli to Pudukottai and Thanjavur districts on Tuesday to visit the affected parts but could not land at Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur due to inclement weather following which he had to cut short his tour.
He had announced that he would visit the districts on a later date.
The Chief Minister said he opted for a helicopter not to merely visit the affected area but to get a detailed knowledge of the extent of the damage caused by the cyclone.
Pictures clicked then have been submitted to the Prime Minister, he said.
The chief minister said Stalin visited “just three places and returned halfway” but only a detailed visit could enable him work out compensation.
Due to government’s precautionary measures like early evacuation of people, the loss of lives has been minimised, he claimed.
Further, government officials were quick to launch relief activities soon after the cyclone crossed the coast, he added.