Gaja relief fund from Centre in two weeks: Central counsel tells court

Chennai / Madurai: The Centre will announce the exact amount of Cyclone Gaja relief fund in two weeks. Till then, the State can make use of Rs 1,277 crore available in the coffers of the State Disaster Relief Fund, said the counsel representing the Centre, in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court today.

On Wednesday, the Tamilnadu government had informed the Madurai bench that the Centre was yet to release funds required for relief and restoration work in Cyclone Gaja-affected areas even after a month since the natural disaster.

The division bench of justices K K Sasidharan and P D Audikesavulu had asked the counsel for the Centre when the funds required for relief work in cyclone Gaja affected areas would be released.

Following this, the counsel representing the Centre said the Tamilnadu government can make use of the Rs 1,277 crore available in the State Disaster Relief Fund till the funds from the Centre are released. The counsel said, “The exact amount from the Centre for the relief work will be announced in two weeks. The reports from the team of Central officials that visited the cyclone-ravaged areas will be examined and the quantum of relief assistance decided based on that and released accordingly.”

Following the Centre’s submission in court, the High Court adjourned the case to 7 January.

Yesterday, the State government’s advocates stated that they have already submitted additional inputs sought by the Centre on the disaster wrought by the severe cyclonic storm in the delta districts. Reacting to the delay in obtaining funds from the Centre, Minister of Power Thangamani said, “We have already submitted all the required details, documenting the level of damage due to Gaja. We have no clue as to what more the Central government expects from us.”