CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday sought early release of `25,912.45 crore as financial assistance from the Centre towards relief and restoration efforts in flood-hit districts of Tamil Nadu. She also reiterated her demand for immediate ‘on account’ release of `2,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to enable the State government to sustain the vigour of the restoration operations.
Submitting the supplementary memorandum on damages caused by heavy rains and floods in six districts — Chennai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli — during the Northeast monsoon, the Chief Minister, in her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said in the first memorandum submitted on November 23, `8,481 crore was sought. The supplementary memorandum reflected the damage caused during the fourth spell of rainfall and floods in the first week of December and sought an additional `17,431.51 crore.
“The State government is committed to rebuilding infrastructure and reducing the distress caused to people due to the floods by providing gratuitous relief for the flood-affected families. These costs are very large and it is very difficult for the Tamil Nadu government to meet it, particularly after the huge loss of Central tax devolution and transfers suffered by the State consequent on the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations,” Jayalalithaa pointed out.
Stating that the rains during the NE monsoon this year had caused enormous devastation to standing crops, property and public infrastructure, besides loss of livelihood, life and cattle, the CM said the Centre had declared the floods as a calamity of ‘severe nature’.
Jayalalithaa said a nine-member Central team made an on-the-spot assessment of the damage by visiting the rain-affected areas during November 26-28.
“But the fourth and most severe spell of rainfall was received only after the visit of the Central team,” she observed and requested the Prime Minister to instruct the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the other appropriate ministries to expeditiously consider the two memoranda, and release the necessary funds at the earliest.
Giving a detailed account of the heavy rainfall in the State, the CM said December 1 was the wettest day in the month in the recorded history of Chennai. “The extremely heavy rainfall on December 1 marooned a number of localities and severely inundated lakhs of houses,” the CM said.