Cyclone Gaja: Central team assesses damage in delta regions

Chennai: The Central team for the seond consecutive day today, visited more villages in delta regions affected by Gaja cyclone to assess the damages. They interacted with vilagers and officials in the areas.

The Central team of experts reached Chennai yesterday and met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and key officials at the Secretariat here. The seven-member team started their assessment of the cyclone-hit areas from Pudukottai. They reached Thanjavur this morning. They visited Orathanadu, Pudur areas in the morning and enquired about the damages made to houses and farmlands by the cyclone in the area.

The team reached Bhuvanakadu to inspect coconut groves that were completely damaged in the fury of Cyclone Gaja. Farmers expressed their sufferings in detail to them.

The team inspected power restoration works at Nemili Thithiyakudi village. They spoke to EB officials who were carrying out repair works.

Tensions prevailed at Paapanadu when villagers staged road roko alleging that the central team has not been visiting interior villages. Police rushed to the spot and the team met the people and received their memorandums.

They also visited Alaikiddu moolai, Pattukottai, Athiramapatiyam, Mallipanam. Representatives from various farmers associations also called on the central team. After finishing inspection works in Thanjavur, they left for Thiruvarur in the evening.

It may be recalled that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and sought central assistance of Rs 15,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation work after destruction caused by Cyclone Gaja in the State. He urged the Prime Minister for an immediate release of Rs 1,500 crore towards temporary renovation work.

“I have submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister detailing the extent of the damage caused by the cyclone,” he told reporters. According to the memorandum, the State government has sought Rs 14,910 crore towards permanent renovation activities, including in the power sector which lost crucial infrastructure in aftermath of the cyclone. Palaniswami said Modi, responding to his request, deputed a central team to assess the damage caused by the cyclone.

The State government released Rs 1,000 crore for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas. Palaniswami said a total of 3.41 lakh houses were damaged, while 1.04 lakh heads of cattle and birds perished. Noting that as many as 11.32 lakh trees had been uprooted, he said 7.27 lakh of them have been cleared.

Centre’s gesture
To restore power in the cyclone-affected areas, the Centre has allocated Rs 200 crore in the first phase, said State Electricity Minister, Thangamani.
Addressing media persons in Nagapattinam, the Minister said, “Works are being taken up in war-footing. Over 25,000 workers are involved in setting right uprooted EB poles. We have brought additional poles from Andhra Pradesh. The Centre has allocated Rs 200 crore in the first phase for these works.”

NT Bureau