Jayalalithaa demands Rs 5000 crore for flood relief

Jayalalithaa demands Rs 5000 crore for flood relief

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an immediate "on account" release of Rs 5000 crore for flood relief works during a meeting between the two here.

Jayalalithaa made the demand after Modi and she carried out an aerial survey of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts that have borne the brunt of the unprecedented rains in the last few days.

An official release said the Chief Minister requested for an immediate "on account" release of Rs 5000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund.

The Prime Minister responded with an announcement of an immediate release of Rs 1000 crore from the NDRF.

Meeting Modi at the naval base 'INS Adyar', Jayalalithaa apprised the Prime Minister of the unprecedented magnitude of the calamity that has struck the northern coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.

She pointed out that rainfall in Chennai in November, 2015 was 101.8 cm which is the second highest rainfall recorded since 1918.  Further extremely heavy rainfall was received in the first two days of December itself. More rainfall has been forecast. Unprecedented heavy rainfall was recorded in Cuddalore, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts as well.

This  grim situation was further worsened by the releases from reservoirs in southern Andhra Pradesh which flow into water bodies and drainage systems in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu.

The major drainage systems of all this water is through the city of Chennai including the Adyar, Coouum, Kosasthalaiyar and other rivers.

Heavy surplus flow of the four major reservoirs of Chennai city, Poondi, Sholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam has also further inundated the low lying areas in Chennai city.

There has been extensive damage to infrastructure including roads, bridges, water supply and electricity systems, she said.

Jayalalithaa said the state machinery was fully mobilised and rescue and relief operations have been launched in full swing.

So far in the four districts of Chennai, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram 325000 persons have been rescued and evacuated, 300 boats have been mobilised, 4327 relief centres have been opened,9,39,030 persons have been accommodated in the relief centres, and 44,55,247 food packets have been distributed.

She thanked Modi for the help rendered by the Central agencies.  Nine columns of Army, 24 NDRF teams, 200 Navy personnel, 4 helicopters from Indian Air Force and 2 helicopters from the Coast Guard have been deployed for relief operations.

Considering the magnitude of the devastation, Jayalalithaa requested that at least 10 more columns of the Army and another 20 teams of NDRF with necessary rescue equipment may be immediately sent, especially in view of the fact that more rains have been forecast by the Meteorological Department.

Jayalalithaa recalled that a memorandum had been submitted on November 23 outlining an initial requirement of Rs 8481 crores. She also mentioned that the state government had sought an on account release of  Rs 2000 crores.

She thanked the Prime Minister for having immediately deputed a central team to assess the damage and releasing a sum of Rs 940 crores to the Government of Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister said that she understood that the released amount of Rs 940 crores comprises Rs 133.79 crores of arrears from 2014-15 towards the State Disaster Response Fund, and Rs 254.62 crores towards the second instalment of SDRF for the current year.

She  mentioned that against these amounts, the State Government has already incurred expenditure from the SDRF.

Jayalalithaa also indicated that the package of Rs 940 crores included a sum of Rs. 552 crores  released as special assistance compensating Tamil Nadu for the loss consequent on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. This amount is intended for specific projects and not for flood relief.

She  emphasised that the massive devastation been caused by floods clearly justifies the declaration of this calamity, a National Disaster.  She specifically requested that an 'on account' release of at least Rs 5000 crores may be made from the National Disaster Response Fund immediately.

The  Chief Minister said that since there had been further damage after the initial memorandum had been submitted, the officials have been instructed to prepare a supplementary memorandum detailing subsequent damage, which will be submitted to the Government of India shortly.

The  Prime Minister agreed with the Chief Minister that the situation in Tamil Nadu was unprecedented and expressed concern at the seriousness of the situation.
He said Chennai is a growth centre and anything that affects Tamil Nadu affects the whole country.

The Prime Minister acceded to her request for deploying  10 additional Army columns and 20 NDRF teams and instructed his officials to ensure that the personnel are deployed immediately.

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