CM Wants Modi to Increase Flood Relief

Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin vowed to demand an increase in the Rs 12,659 crore flood relief that he had earlier sought from the Union Government in view of the second disaster bringing unprecedented and unexpected heavy rains to the southern districts of Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari even as he geared up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Already in New Delhi to participate in a meeting of the INDIA coalition, Stalin told the media on Tuesday that he was scheduled to meet the Prime Minister late on Tuesday night and that the funds from the Union Government were imperative to carry out the rest of relief operations though the State had gone ahead with providing relief to the affected people without waiting from the money from New Delhi.

The Chief Minister, who has been monitoring the ongoing relief work in the southern districts, where Kayalpattinam alone received 94 cm of rain on a single day turning the region into a sea of water, said that 168 soldiers would be joining the mitigation work and wrote to the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh requesting for more helicopters to rescue stranded people and drop food items for the marooned.

Though the State had mobilized the State Disaster Response Force and the National Disaster Response Force for the operations, the relief material collected from all over the State could not be distributed to the people since the connecting roads were inundated making most of these people reachable only by helicopters, he told the Defence Minister in a letter.

Already 8 helicopters were deployed – 4 from the Army, 2 from the Navy and 2 from the Coast Guard – in the flood affected regions but more of them would be required to carry out the mitigation work, which was being monitored by 8 ministers and 10 IAS officers, he said.

As a precautionary measure 12,653 persons had been put up in 141 relief camps and provided with food, water and medical and other basic facilities, he said, adding the government would protect the people of the southern districts like the people of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur district were taken care of during the devastation caused by the Cyclone Michaung, he said.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister he would highlight the fact that the State had borne the brunt of two national disaster consecutively and explain the need for more funds to overcome to loss, he said, adding that the rains in the northern districts on December 4 and 5 were the highest in the past 47 years and the downpour in the Southern districts was unprecedented that it exceeded a 60 year record.

After meeting the Prime Minister and presenting him with a memorandum seeking to increase the relief amount, he would leave for Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli, the two districts that had been the worst hit, impacting the lives of 40 lakh people, he said.

Stalin also appointed senior IAS officer P Amutha as the State coordinator for the teams appointed to collect the relief material donated by the public and reach them to the affected people. R Aishwarya and C Kishan Kumar are the other IAS officers in the team.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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