Elaborate planning helped avert major losses: Edappadi K Palaniswami

Palaniswami said the families of the deceased will be provided a solatium of Rs 10 lakh each from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund (CMPRF).

Salem: Major losses, either in terms of human lives or destruction to property due to the fury of the severe cyclonic storm 'Gaja' over Bay of Bengal, which crossed the Tamil Nadu coast early on Friday, have been averted due to the elaborate planning and precautionary measures taken by the state to meet the Northeast monsoon season, Chief Minister, Mr Edappadi K Palaniswami said.

Assuring all possible help on 'war footing' to the affected people in the cyclone-hit districts, particularly Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram, Mr Palaniswami said about 82,000 people were shifted from vulnerable spots in those districts and made to stay put safely in 471 relief shelters.

“We have made all arrangements for their continued stay as the Indian Meteorological department has said the rains will continue till Friday night,” Mr. Palaniswami said, addressing reporters after a consultative meeting with AIADMK office-bearers in their party office at Omalur near here. He said the wind-speed when the cyclone crossed over, had peaked 110-kmph, causing severe damages in certain pockets, but the overall situation was well under control.

Stating that the Revenue minister, Mr. R.B. Udayakumar had been asked to stay put at the disaster mitigation control centre in Chennai to coordinate directly on a real time basis the rescue and relief operations with the collectors of each of the affected districts, Mr. Palaniswami said the government had already, on the basis of IMD inputs, assessed the three or four most vulnerable districts that could come under the cyclone's sway and had deputed teams of senior IAS officers to oversee the precautionary measures.

Mr. Palaniswami said the families of the deceased will be provided a solatium of Rs 10 lakh each from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund (CMPRF). Those with severe injuries will be provided with Rs one lakh each while people who had sustained simple injuries will get Rs 25,000 as relief. The damage caused by Gaja, including to the fishing sector, was being assessed, he added.

Mr. Palaniswami disclosed that the extent and type of damage caused by the cyclone was being assessed by officials of the concerned departments including PWD, Agriculture, Revenue , Fisheries, Highways, Electricity, Health and Local bodies. Once a preliminary assessment was made he would visit the flood-affected areas as he would then be in a better position to announce appropriate relief, he said.

The State ministers from the respective districts were also on the field, directly overseeing the relief works with assistance of senior IAS officers, Mr. Palaniswami said and appealed to the affected people not to panic or have any apprehensions as disaster mitigation efforts were already on. Chief Minister assured that nothing would be found wanting including moving sufficient number of electricity poles to the affected districts to fix the power supply network and removal of fallen trees.



Meanwhile, State Electricity minister, Mr. Thangamani said at Tiruchengode in Namakkal district on Friday that nearly 21,000 electric poles have been uprooted by 'Gaja' cyclonic winds in the affected districts and over 10,000 persons and workers have been mobilsed to help reinstall the electric poles and normalize the distribution network. Power supply would be restored in all the cyclone-hit areas in a phased manner and giving priority to essential services like hospitals and collectorate complexes, he explained. The minister also gave the details of damaged electric poles in each district, which included 5,000 in Thanjavur district, 3,000 in Tiruvarur, 4,000 in Nagapattinam and 9,000 in Pudukkottai district.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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