PUDUCHERRY: The Central team of officials led by TVSN Prasad, joint secretary in the Union Home Ministry reached the Union Territory on Saturday to assess the rain damage here.
The 9-member team will begin its work on Sunday and Puducherry officials have been asked to lend a helping hand,sources said.
The team comprises senior officials from the departments of agriculture, finance, drinking water, health, power, rural development, water resources and road transport.
According to sources, the officials of the district administration have been instructed to receive the team and and take it for damage assessment.
The team arrived in Chennai last Wednesday and has already visited the rain-ravaged districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore.
It may be noted that Chief Minister N Rangasamy had written to Prime Minster Narendra Modi requesting him to provide immediate relief assistance to the tune of `182.45 crore to Puducherry for providing necessary relief to the affected people and restore the infrastructure at the earliest in both Puducherry and Karaikal regions.
In a financial memorandum submitted to the PM and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rangasamy had sought an assistance of `182.45 crore for relief and reconstruction works consequent to the damage caused by heavy rain during the ongoing monsoon season. He sought the Prime Minister’s immediate announcement for emergency relief.
It may be noted that Lok Sabha MP R Radhakrishnan had already appealed to Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh to provide rain relief assistance while taking part in the NDA meeting held in connection with the Parliament session.
Opposition political parties, Congress, DMK and others have already criticised the NR government for not taking immediate steps to request a visit by the Central team to assess the damages.
Meanwhile, Association of Village Panchayat Presidents on Saturday submitted a memorandum to the Central team demanding the Centre to declare Cuddalore as disaster-prone and allot special funds for restoration work.
Association president K Jagan and other village panchayat presidents gave the petition to TVSN Prasad, who was heading the team to assess the damage caused by the floods.
In the petition, Jagan said, “Cuddalore was hit by the tsunami in 2004, floods in 2005 and ‘Thane’ cyclone in 2011. Now, the district again was affected by the floods. Therefore, the Central and the State governments should take measures to declare Cuddalore as disaster-prone, and give special attention to the restoration work.”
The petition further read: “As in Indonesia and Japan, public awareness should be created on how to tackle the recurring natural calamity in the district.
The funds should be distributed to the affected people through the local bodies. Special plans should be drawn up to support farmers, fishermen and the agricultural workers.”
Tamil Nadu Vivasayikal Sangam (Kisan Sabha) state president and MLA K Balakrishnan and CPM district secretary Madhavan also met the Central team and demanded adequate compensation for the damaged crops.
The Sangam said that crops in about `3 lakh acres of agricultural land were affected in the deluge and `25,000 per acre of paddy crop should be given as compensation.