CHENNAI: Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam slammed DMK president M. K. Stalin accusing him of politicising the relief work in the flood ravaged Nilgiris district and said the State government has initiated appropriate relief and rescue operations on time.
Taking strong exception to Stalin's accusation, Mr. Panneerselvam said that it has become the DMK leader's "habit to twist facts and blame the government."
On Monday, the DMK leader who visited the rain-hit areas in Nilgiris district, which witnessed heavy landslides too; and provided relief to the affected people, claimed the Ministers had undertaken the inspection "in name only." Stalin who had also announced Rs. 10 crore from the Local Area Development Fund of party MPs and MLA, to take up relief works in Nilgiris district, accused the Tamil Nadu government of not taking any preventive measures to tackle the impact of rains and floods.
Nilgiris, he said, should be announced as a natural disaster-prone district; and the government should take steps to clear the pathway from Gudalur in the Nilgiris to Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district, to facilitate smooth flow of water.
Asserting that his government had acted swiftly, Mr. Panneerselvam told reporters here on Monday that immediately after it received a warning from the IMD, the government had swung into action. "The Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami took stock of the situation and directed Revenue Minister R. B. Udayakumar and Commissioner of Revenue Administration to rush to Nilgiris and personally oversee the rescue and relief operations," Mr. Panneerselvam said.
Despite the district recording unprecedented rains and consecutive landslides, the government machinery reached out to the affected, he added.
The district had received 428 mm rain and the worst-affected areas - Avalanche and Devala had recorded 84 mm and 125 mm rain respectively, till Sunday. Meanwhile, restoration work especially the clearing of uprooted trees and mud of landslides at Avalanche and Emerald were completed and efforts are on to ensure connectivity between Gudalur and Sulthan Bathery and other parts in the district. Dozens of earthmovers were used in the restoration....