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PM Modi assures Tamil Nadu CM Stalin of help; puts Nirmala Sitharaman in charge of flood relief ops
Photo courtesy: Nirmala Sitharaman Twitter page

PM Modi assures Tamil Nadu CM Stalin of help; puts Nirmala Sitharaman in charge of flood relief ops

| @indiablooms | 25 Dec 2023, 09:35 pm

Chennai: Days after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu of not taking adequate relief measures in the state's rain-battered southern districts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday put Sitharaman in charge of Tamil Nadu flood response.

She would visit Thoothukudi district, which bore the brunt of the rain fury last week, on Tuesday.

"Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will visit flood-affected Thoothukudi on Tuesday, December 26. She will hold a review meeting with the Thoothukudi district administration and visit flood-affected areas," as per the programme details shared by the Minister’s Office on X (formerly Twitter).

In the wake of the unprecedented floods in southern Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chief Minister MK Stalin to take stock of the current situation. The heavy rains in the southern state occurred shortly after Cyclone Michaung.

"Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi called me to inquire about the unprecedented floods in Southern Tamil Nadu, immediately after Cyclone Michaung. I have explained to him the massive rescue and relief efforts undertaken by the State government, despite resource constraints, and sought immediate financial support from the Union government," Stalin said in a tweet.

"Prime Minister has assured the support of the Union government to overcome these twin calamities and conveyed that he has deputed Hon'ble Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to assess the flood situation," the Tamil Nadu CM added.

Three days back, Nirmala, while addressing the media in New Delhi, alleged that Chief Minister M K Stalin’s government was not prepared to deal with the heavy downpour.

She also said that 31 people were killed in the four southern districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari due to rain-related incidents that received unprecedented record rainfall never witnessed in the past 100 years.

She also rejected Stalin’s claim that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had provided “an inadequate forecast” and also delayed issuing a red alert as torrential rains battered the state.

The Regional Meteorological Department in Chennai was one of the most modernised Centre in India and said the necessary alert was issued in time and slammed criticised him for attending a meeting with INDIA bloc leaders when he should have been overseeing preparations for the relief and rescue measures

She said that the Centre had already released the State's share of Rs 900 crore under SDRF in two installments even before the heavy rains battered the southern districts.

The second installment was released ahead of the rains on December 12.

The state government claimed that the Centre had only released the SDRF share due to Tamil Nadu and had not released any assistance from the NDRF for rain relief measures.

Countering her remarks, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu said she was “apparently unaware” of the extent of the disaster. It was the state government’s proactive measures and prompt relief and rescue operations that had helped avert a bigger tragedy.

The state government also urged the Centre to declare the rain disaster as a national calamity and release funds from the NDRF for rescue and relief
operations in rain-hit areas.

Stalin, during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi last week, submitted a memorandum demanding a permanent Central assistance of Rs 12,659 crore for the rain relief works in Chennai and three neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram, which were lashed by massive rains under the influence of several Cyclonic Storm Michaung on December 4 and 5.

In the memorandum, he demanded the release of Rs 7,033 crore immediate interim for these districts, besides Rs 2,000 crore funds in the first phase to restore the livelihood of people affected in four southern districts on December 17 and 18.

He said while the Chennai and neighbouring districts had received unprecedented rains due to the Cyclone that had never been witnessed in 47 years, the southern districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari had received extreme to very extreme rains that were never seen in the last more than 100 years causing extensive damages to various infrastructure facilities.

He also urged PM Modi to declare the rain calamity in the state as a national disaster.

(With UNI inputs)

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