Centre refused to fund flood relief in TN: CM

Stalin says govt sought Rs 37K crore but didn’t get a single rupee, union finance minister didn’t act on state’s plea
Chief Minister MK Stalin addressing a public meeting in Thoothukudi on Sunday, Feb 25, 2024.
Chief Minister MK Stalin addressing a public meeting in Thoothukudi on Sunday, Feb 25, 2024.(Photo | V Karthikalagu)

THOOTHUKUDI: Taking a dig at the union government’s refusal to fund flood-relief and restoration works in the state, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Sunday said the DMK government will continue to serve the public by overcoming any impediments put forward by the Centre. Speaking at the flood relief distribution ceremony held at Soosaipandiyapuram along the Thoothukudi-Tirunelveli National Highway, Stalin said it was the DMK government that funded the relief activities after the December 2023 floods.

“Though we had sent proposals seeking `37,000 crore to assuage the crises brought in by two monstrous disasters, the union government did not contribute even a single rupee. Instead, the Centre and union finance minister remained mute spectators regardless of them having to solicit votes in Tamil Nadu, as general elections are around the corner,” Stalin said.

“When we question their move, the union minister arrogantly tells us to manage the situation if we are capable. This does not reflect well on the position she holds,” Stalin said, adding that Tamil Nadu, a pioneering state in the country, has been leading in various sectors and several global companies continue to flock to the state to set up industries.

The chief minister distributed assistance worth Rs 423.95 crore to as many as 2,21,815 flood victims of Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts. It includes Rs 305.08 crore worth assistance to 1,83,301 victims in Thoothukudi, and Rs 118.87 crore worth assistance to 38,514 victims in Tirunelveli.

Stalin also listed out some of the restoration works carried out in Thoothukudi and said anaicuts, tanks, and canals breached by the floods at 288 places were rectified temporarily at a cost of Rs 66.45 crore on a war footing, and another 145.58 crore has been allotted for permanent restoration. In Tirunelveli, waterbodies which sustained breaks at 802 places were rectified at a cost of Rs 27.68 crore, and Rs 15.93 crore has been allotted for permanent restoration. Damaged roads are being restored at an expense of Rs 343 crore, he added.

“The state government has disbursed Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of 58 people who died in the floods, Rs 34.74 crore for the loss of livestock, and allotted Rs 382.25 crore to provide a relief of Rs 6,000 to the victims. Further, Rs 9.35 crore was distributed to compensate for the houses shattered in the floods in both districts, and funds were also sanctioned to renovate damaged houses (Rs 4 lakh for fully damaged houses and Rs 2 lakh for partly damaged houses), benefiting 4,624 families,” he added.

In a bid to extend financial support to flood-hit traders, fishermen, small enterprises, self- help groups and farmers, the government has released over Rs 666.36 crore, and over 670 MSME industries in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi were granted Rs 18 crore credit, with an interest subvention of six per cent, to recapitalise their business ventures on behalf of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation.

The event was attended by ministers KKSSR Ramachandran, Thangam Thennarasu, Geetha Jeevan, Anitha R Radhakrishnan, Rajakannappan, Mano Thangaraj, parliamentarian Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, district collectors G Lakshmipathy and Karthikeyan.

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