CUDDALORE/PUDUCHERRY: “It’s a very big tragedy.” This is how Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi described the deluge that hit the State, after visiting Cuddalore district on Tuesday.
Rahul arrived at Karaikkadu village near Cuddalore. Tight police security was arranged on the route that leads to Karaikkadu as Rahul had come by road.
Addressing mediapersons, the Congress scion said, “I wanted to see with my own eyes what was going on here. I’ve visited Puducherry and now I am in Cuddalore. I will visit Chennai as well. I think it’s a big tragedy. I wanted to meet the flood-affected people as it’s important that we reach out to the victims in this difficult time and assure them of all help.”
Then, he distributed relief material at Karaikkadu. Residents from several other villages across the district were also brought to Karaikkadu by Congress functionaries to provide aid. In total, about 760 villagers received the relief material.
Earlier in Puducherry, Rahul said he did not want politicise the issue of rain relief and added that all the people, who suffered, should be extended assistance as early as possible. Talking to reporters at Shanmugha Nagar, Ariyankuppam, he said the State and Central governments should provide assistance without delay.
Rahul, who is the first national leader of any party visiting the rain-affected areas of Puducherry, asked the villagers who gathered at a paddy field near Narambai whether they received any assistance so far. The farmers, who showed him the paddy crops which were damaged, told him they were yet to receive any relief.
He asked them about the damage caused to the paddy fields in the area and the people informed him that nearly 10 acres of paddy fields were affected.
Former Union Minister V Narayanasamy acted as interpreter to help the villagers in the conversation.
The Congress leader, who reached the Lawspet airport at 11 am, was received by the leaders of the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry party committees. The leader preferred to travel in an Innova and he waved to the people, who had gathered on both sides of the road to have a glimpse of him.
The Special Protection Group of the inner security ring found it tough to keep the people away as they wanted to shake hands with Rahul and take pictures of him on their cellphones.
The AICC vice-president distributed the relief material arranged by the Youth Congress at AFT Grounds for the affected people of Roddiarpet. Later, Rahul proceeded to Shanmugha Nagar at Ariyankuppam. He walked down the roads, still filled with water, with folded jeans and visited the narrow lanes and the residents.
Get Central Aid: PCC
The Puducherry Pradesh Congress Committee urged Rahul to impress upon the Union government to provide an assistance to the tune of `400 crore for Puducherry towards rain relief and rehabilitation work.
In a memorandum submitted to Rahul who visited three places in Puducherry en route to Cuddalore, PCC chief Namasivayam urged Rahul to ask the Centre to waive off the agricultural loan given to farmers and to adequately compensate the fishermen who lost their boats and nets.
Namassivayam, in his memorandum to Rahul, detailed the devastation caused by rains in Puducherry and Karaikal regions. Fishermen were unable to go for fishing for the last 25 days since the sea was rough. Fishermen who ventured into the sea lost their nets and boats. Fishermen in the coastal areas were severely affected. Agricultural labourers were starving, he said, since they had no work for the last one month. He alleged that no relief had been provided to them by government.