Jaya urges Modi to declare TN floods as national calamity

Jaya urges Modi to declare TN floods as national calamity

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the unprecedented floods in the state as a national calamity and proposed measures, including a moratorium on home and vehicle loans, to enable affected families rebuild lives.

"I request you to immediately declare this unprecedented, catastrophic and cataclysmic event a national calamity," she said in a letter to Modi.

For flood-hit households many of whom are in the low and middle income groups, she proposed a special set of measures like soft loans, speeding up insurance claims disbursal and moratorium by banks on EMIs.

Referring to the destruction caused by the four rounds of floods in most districts, she said there has been extensive damage to infrastructure as well as to the private property of thousands of families.

Many households had lost valuables like personal effects and domestic durable assets, she said and added that "it cannot be adequately compensated through the existing structure of relief payments".

"The insurance companies may be directed to take up the survey and settlement of the claims on a campaign mode, and with a liberal application of norms so that such households could receive insurance payments early," she said.

"I suggest that the banks may be directed to provide a limited moratorium on repayment, as well as a rescheduling of the loans, which would lower the Equated Monthly Instalment payments and offer a measure of relief," the CM said.

Many affected families also lost their personal vehicles and almost all their durable domestic assets, including furniture, refrigerators, television sets, washing machines and kitchen equipment, she said.

"I suggest that, as a special case, flood-affected families may be liberally extended soft loans by banks for purchase of vehicles, educational loans to continue to fund the education of children and personal loans of an amount upto Rs five lakh to finance essential domestic durable assets."

The government would provide special certification to all such families, based on which banks could sanction loans as per their norms, she said.

The CM stressed that only with such a package of assistance would many of these families be in a position to restart their lives.

Jayalalithaa also requested that excise duty exemption be provided till March 31 2016 for white goods (domestic electric appliances) and kitchen equipment to be sold in the flood affected districts.

Given the "extraordinarily heavy devastation caused by the floods," she said the liberal measures suggested by her for insurance companies and banks would enable the flood affected families rebuild their lives.

Requesting immediate action, she said, "I would be grateful if you could direct the Ministry of Finance to immediately formulate a liberal scheme as suggested and issue appropriate orders and guidelines."

Noting that ex-gratia payments are being made for damages to huts, she said restoration and reconstruction of public infrastructure would have to be done out of central and state government resources.

Further to the November 23 memorandum to the Centre, a supplementary memorandum would be submitted on the extent of damage in the most recent rounds of floods, she said.

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