PUDUCHERRY: A high-level inter-ministerial team of officials led by joint secretary TVSN Prasad of the Union Home Ministry visited various rural areas of Puducherry, on Sunday, and made an on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused following heavy rains. The report on the destruction caused is to be submitted to the Union government within a week.
The team visited agriculture fields and assessed damages to the standing crops besides examining the damaged roads and other physical infrastructure. The team was accompanied by revenue secretary V Candavelou, district Collector D Manikandan and other officials.
The team visited Aaratchikuppam in Bahour taluk and inspected the crops damaged there before proceeding to visit the bridge across Thenpennai at Komanthanmedu and Aranganur. Education Minister and Bahour legislator T Thiagarajan, who too reached the spot, informed the team that standing crops in over 200 hectares of land in Bahour were severely damaged.
Subsequently, the team visited Karikkalampakkam where the agriculturists displayed their frustration by dumping the decayed vegetables on the road.
A little away at Korkadu village, the farmers showed the damaged paddy crops. A woman agriculturist of the area, Meenakshi, charged that no official visited their area to hear their grievances and estimate the losses following the heavy downpour. She alleged that water channels were not properly desilted and maintained. She demanded that encroachments on water bodies be removed and due respect be given to farmers.
Later, the team visited Senthanatham and Ulavayakaal villages and made an assessment of the damages to the betel leaves.
Vimal Raj, one of the agriculturists in Senthanatham, explained to the panel members that he suffered a loss of nearly Rs 7 to 8 lakh in his 2 acre betel farm. He said nearly 150 families in the area were affected as their crops - paddy, banana, tapioca - were severely damaged during the rains.
Later, the team met Chief Minster Rangasamy,who impressed upon it to ensure prompt submission of its report to facilitate early release of assistance by the Union Government.
During the meeting, Chief Secretary Manoj Parida, Finance Secretary, Chandrakar Bharthi, Collector D Manikandan, MPs R Radhakrishnan and N Gokulakrishnan were present.
Later talking to reporters, TVSN Prasad said that the team had visited various places and that an indepth assessment as per the guidelines would be prepared and submitted to the Central government within a week.
The team comprised representatives from the ministries of agriculture, finance, rural development, health, power, road transport and highways and Central Water Commission.
It is to be noted that the team was deputed following a letter by CM Rangasamy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Rajnath Singh.
holiday for schools today
Puducherry: Directorate of school education has declared holiday for all Government and Private schools in anticipation of heavy rains on Monday. Low pressure, already brought rains at a number of places along the coast, including Puducherry on Sunday. Heavy to very heavy rain is predicted over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, variously over the next three to four days.