Cyclone Gaja: Central team in TN to assess damage

Cyclone Gaja: Central team in TN to assess damage

People survey the damage caused by cyclone Gaja in their vicinity, at Kodiakkarai in Nagapattinam district. PTI

A seven-member inter-ministerial team from the Union Government led by a joint secretary-level officer arrived here on Friday night to assess the damages caused by Cyclone Gaja in ten districts of Tamil Nadu.

The team led by Daniel Richards, Joint Secretary with the Ministry of Home Affairs, will meet Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday before they set out to the districts to assess the damages.

The team has representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Rural Development, Power, Water Resources and Road Transport. The team is expected to visit the worst-affected districts of Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukkottai, and interact with the people who lost their agriculture fields.

Cyclone Gaja that hit the Tamil Nadu coast on November 16 left a trail of destruction in almost ten districts, mostly in the fertile Cauvery Delta region, and killed more than 60 people. Thousands of acres of coconut farm have been destroyed due to the Cyclone bringing several families that depend on farming onto the streets.

The team’s visit comes after, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday seeking Rs 15,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation works in the districts. The chief minister had sought dispatch of a Central team to assess the damages and submit a report for further financial assistance.

The visit comes even as normalcy is yet to be restored in several districts – power supply is yet to be restored in numerous villages as work on reinstating the fallen electric poles is on full swing. 


Freight charges

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal seeking to waive of freight charges for relief material meant for cyclone Gaja affected districts in the state.

"I request the Railways to waive the freight charges collected from donors for the relief materials sent to the stations in disaster-hit areas addressed to the District Collectors, as has been done in the case of recent Kerala floods," he said in the letter.