Cyclone Ockhi impact: Centre releases Rs 133 crore to Tamil Nadu

The announcement came on the eve of the inter-ministerial team's visit to the state.

Chennai: On the eve of the Central team’s visit to Kanniyakumari to assess damages caused by Cyclone Ockhi, the Union Government on Wednesday released Rs 133 crore as “interim assistance” to Tamil Nadu Government to meet “immediate needs” arising out of the situation.

The eight-member team will be split into two with one team visiting Kanniyakumari and another assessing damages in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, which suffered huge damages during the Monsoon rains in November.

Sources in the Union Government said further assistance to the state government would be released after the Central team submits its report detailing on the damages in Kanniyakumari district that bore the brunt of the cyclone that hit the coast last month.

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and Revenue Minister R B Uthayakumar had last week met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanded that the Centre immediately sanction Rs 876 crore for temporary restoration of infrastructure and Rs 8,246 crore for permanent mitigation measures in Kanniyakumari district.

“The Government has released an amount of Rs 133 crore to Tamil Nadu as interim assistance for Cyclone Ockhi relief from the National Disaster Response Fund,” sources said. The announcement came on the eve of the inter-ministerial team’s visit to the state.

The Central team led by Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, will visit Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur on Thursday, while his colleague Parmeshwar Bali from the Shipping Ministry will assess damages in Kanniyakumari.

The team will interact with fishermen, farmers and general public besides making some field visits in the district. Rubber plantations, which are found in abundance in the district, were the most hit by the cyclone and farmers have been demanding a package from the government to overcome losses.

The Chennai team will visit Royapuram, Basin Bridge, Perambur, Vepery and Koyambedu in the city and Pammal, Anakaputhur, Kundrathur and Pallavaram in Kancheepuram districts.

The Central team will also hold detailed discussions with Kanniyakumari Collector Sajjan Singh R Chavan and senior officials before flying to Chennai on Friday where they will call on Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his cabinet colleagues.

Palaniswami has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice demanding that Cyclone Ockhi be declared as “national disaster” and sought generous assistance from the Centre for mitigation measures.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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