Chennai: Opposition leaders M.K. Stalin and PMK founder leader Dr S. Ramadoss have slammed the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami accusing him of ‘conducting helicopter drama’ in merely carrying out aerial survey of only a few ‘Gaja’ cyclone affected places and not meeting the victims to know their problems.
The accusation comes a few days after DMK president M K Stalin appreciated the State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA) for its precautionary measures in handling cyclone Gaja. "The precautionary measures undertaken by TNSDMA are worthy of appreciation", Stalin tweeted, adding that the government should lend a helping hand in all the efforts of the TNSDMA in handling the post-cyclone situation with the “speed of a storm”.
Opposition leader Stalin in a statement, released hours after the Chief Minister accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam paid a visit to Gaja-hit Pudukkottai area and distributed relief material to the people residing in the relief camps on Tuesday, said the Chief Minister went to Tiruchy from where he took a helicopter. "He went to two to three places in the protection of party workers and police. Distribution of relief material and pictures were all a setup. If weather was bad, he could have waited there for a few days, why cut short visit?"
Stalin said the CM cannot hide himself from the wrath of victims. The cyclone caused major havoc in eight districts and the government had not done even little assistance to the affected people. In order to understand the ground realities, the CM must meet the people in person.
When people faced severe cyclonic storm on November 16, CM was participating in function. He should have visited the affected place on the next day. But, he had not done so. One or two Ministers, who went to the affected place, faced the wrath of the people and unable to answer their queries.
Only today, the CM choose helicopter survey as several ministers and ruling party legislators were chased by the angry mob in the affected areas. After conducting aerial survey on a few places, he traveled by car only to a distance and returned to without meeting the victims. He handed over relief materials to only a few persons. The aerial survey was only an eye wash, Stalin said.
Echoing similar view PMK founder leader Dr S Ramadoss said that the meager government assistance would not heal the people. The farmers lost their 25-year long hard earned savings in one night by the onslaught of the cyclone. Ministers faced the people’s anger as they had not engaged in relief and rescue operations. Stating that government’s relief package was inadequate, he demanded the CM to expedite the relief and rescue operation and issue suitable assistance to people.