PUDUCHERRY: A central team led by Rajiv Sharma, joint secretary, Union Home Ministry, assessed the damages caused by the unprecedented rains in Puducherry.
The central team visited the Pillaichavady coastal area, where it was shown the damages caused by sea erosion. Around 300 metres of coastline was washed away along with a road and coconut trees. Life has become dangerous for the fisherfolk living close to the area, as they expressed fear, but said they have nowhere to go. The PWD has proposed the erection of Palmyra poles and dumping of boulders on the coast to prevent further erosion as a temporary measure so that the lives of people remain secure.
Later, the team visited the Indira Gandhi square where severe waterlogging from upper reaches is an issue. The PWD has proposed to construct an alternate drainage system to facilitate the flow of water.
The team visited NR Nagar in Thavalakuppam, a low-lying area which was inundated due to the overflow of water from the Sankarabarani river after 40,000 cusecs was released. People were ferried by boats to relief camps. Speaker R Selvam who was present during the visit explained the difficulties faced by the people. PWD officials have proposed to strengthen the embankment to protect the residents from facing similar situations in future. The team went there by foot and had an on-the-spot assessment of the damages. A resident spoke in Hindi to the visiting team, explaining the plight of the people during the flooding and they also sought an additional culvert bridge in the area.
The rains have caused havoc to crops. The central team was taken to Bahour area where the farmers showed their damaged paddy crops. Some farmers expressed grievances over the delay in release of subsidy and faulted officials of the agriculture department. They also expressed grievances over the encroachment of irrigation canals and lack of desilting, which is preventing free flow of excess water during rains leading to crop damage. Moreover, the farmers also faulted the government for their failure to repair the shutter of Siteri Anicut, which was damaged four years back.
The team declined to see the damages to the power distribution infrastructure at Mullodai as it had got late and left for Cuddalore. According to electricity department officials, a 200 KVA transformer at Mullodai had got totally damaged due to heavy lightning and had to be replaced. In all, 16 transformers in Puducherry and three in Karaikal were damaged. Moreover, 39 electric poles, 16 kilometres of line and 768 street lights in Puducherry and Karaikal regions got damaged in the rains.
Meanwhile, a DMK delegation led by Leader of Opposition R Siva submitted a memorandum to the central team at Bahour, seeking Rs 500 crores as rain relief for Puducherry. He cited the heavy damages to crops, roads, electrical infrastructure and bed dams across Sankarabarani for the requirement of the relief assistance in the memorandum.
Earlier, AIADMK East Secretary and former MLA A Anbazhagan also submitted a memorandum to the central team seeking Rs 400 crores relief. He said that Rs 300 crores was necessary to provide relief to the affected people and another Rs 100 crores was required for infrastructural damages.