CHENNAI: Two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Cyclone Ochki-hit Kanyakumari district, the Tamil Nadu government today held a review meeting over the central assistance to be sought for the relief works in the region.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who is expected to accompany Modi during the visit on December 19, chaired the meeting which resolved to press the Centre on the demand for declaring the cyclone a national disaster.
Palaniswami had days ago written to the prime minister urging him to declare the cyclone a national disaster. A similar plea has also been made by neighbouring Kerala, where the southern coast bordering Kanyakumari was hit by the cyclone fury.
The meeting also resolved to seek assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund towards additional funding requirements to meet the relief works in the southern Tamil Nadu districts of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, affected by the cyclone last month, an official release here said.
Attended by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, ministers and officials at the State Secretariat, the meeting deliberated on the extent of damage caused by the cyclone that wreaked havoc in these districts, especially Kanyakumari.
Commissioner of Revenue Administration, K Satyagopal and other officials briefed the chief minister and ministers on the relief measures taken up far and the assistance to be sought from the Centre for various works, the release said.
The works included repair and refurbishment in respect of categories including fallen electric poles, damaged government buildings, national and state highways and bunds of water bodies.
A memorandum will be submitted to the Centre in this regard and the chief minister directed the officials to prepare a sector-wise dossier on the damage caused by the storm.
The meeting also decided to urge the Centre to grant a special financial assistance for setting up an integrated fishing harbour in Kanyakumari district aimed at finding a permanent solution to the fishermen there.
It was also decided to press for a plan to address flooding in Chennai and neighbouring districts.
Officials told the meeting that crops, including paddy and rubber, had been hit due to the cyclone and steps were being taken to give relief to the affected farmers.
Similar steps were being taken in respect of damaged boats and fishing gear.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan held discussions with officials in Kanyakumari on the visit of the prime minister during which he would interact with affected people.
The cyclone, which left a trail of destruction, has claimed 18 lives in Tamil Nadu while the toll in Kerala was 68. It also left several fishermen of the two states stranded or missing.
Modi will be also visiting Kerala and Lakshadweep.