Centre gives TN Rs 276cr flood relief, CM Stalin slams BJP for ‘meagre’ sum

“People are watching every move of the BJP government which is betraying Tamil Nadu by providing neither justice nor money,” Chief Minister M K Stalin said.
Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin.
Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin. (File Photo | A Raja Chidambaram, EPS)

CHENNAI: After much political wrangling and efforts by Tamil Nadu, including filing of a case before the Supreme Court and multiple meetings with the central authorities, the union government has released Rs 276.10 crore to the state as relief for Cyclone Michaung, which affected the northern districts in December 2023, and for flood damage suffered by the southern districts in December last year.

Almost all the non-BJP parties of the state slammed the centre for giving Tamil Nadu such “meagre” amount. “People are watching every move of the BJP government which is betraying Tamil Nadu by providing neither justice nor money,” Chief Minister M K Stalin said in a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). “The state government had sought Rs 37,907 crore and had already spent Rs 2,477 crore on relief measures during the calamities,” the CM pointed out in the post.

Commenting on the development, CPM’s Madurai Lok Sabha candidate Su Venkatesan said, “What BJP has towards Tamil Nadu is not anger. It is hatred, endless hatred.”

Only Rs 276.10 crore released as TN flood aid against an ‘approved’ Rs 682.67 crore

As per a communication from the Union Ministry of Finance dated April 26, 2024, the funds have been released as per the recommendations of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). According to the official communication, the assistance approved by the MHA was Rs 682.67 crore.

The “net assistance” to be released was, however, calculated as Rs 276.10 crore after deducting Rs 406.57 crore, which the communication said was “the 50% (of the balance) available in the State Disaster Relief Fund account for instant calamity (ies) relief as on 1 April 2023.” Of the Rs 276.10 crore, Rs 115.49 crore has been allocated for Cyclone Michaung relief while Rs 160.61 crore has been allocated for flood relief in the four southern districts.

Other parties, including the AIADMK, too criticised the union government for releasing just Rs 276.10 crore. AIADMK’s organising secretary and former minister D Jayakumar said over the past many years, the Tamil Nadu government had requested around Rs 1.50 lakh crore as relief assistance for various natural calamities but the union governments, led by both the Congress and the BJP, have allocated only Rs 7,000 crore. The former minister also said union governments led by national parties are showing partiality in allocating funds to southern states.

TNCC president KS Selvaperunthagai accused the union government of showing a “step-motherly” attitude in allocating disaster relief to TN. He said that despite the state urging the union government to allocate funds from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), the centre seems to have allocated funds to Tamil Nadu only from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

CPM leader Su Venkatesan, in a post on X, drew parallels between the allocation made to Karnataka and TN. He alleged that since the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka did not seem to be favourable to the BJP, the party has announced Rs 3,454 crore as drought relief for the state while allocating just Rs 276 crore to TN where the election is already over.

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