Earlier the better

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. This comes after 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 a month after the natural disaster.

It was informed in court that based on the clarifications provided by the State government, the inter-ministerial Central team has finalised its report on the damage caused by Cyclone Gaja in the State. It further informed the court that the team would forward its report to the high-level committee of the Central government, which would convene a meeting and take a decision on the release of funds within two weeks.

Cyclone Gaja caused huge damage in the delta regions. Rehabilitation work needs to be carried out at the earliest. Gaja left 65 people dead and more that 1.34 lakh electricity poles damaged. At least 70,000 coconut farmers have been directly affected in mainly four districts – Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam. Early release of Central relief fund will help address their woes. For now, the wait continues.

NT Bureau