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PTI chennai India
Updated: 19-11-2018 19:45 IST

Relief operations gathered pace in

cyclone 'Gaja'-hit districts of Tamil Nadu Monday even as

sporadic protests by the affected people demanding quick

assistance continued in various places for the second day.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami took stock of the situation

at a high-level meeting here attended by his cabinet

colleagues and officials in the aftermath of the cyclone that

crossed the state coast near Vedaranyam on Friday, causing

devastation in six coastal districts and claiming 45 lives.

President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to Palaniswami and

enquired about the situation.

Reports received here painted a grim picture of the

affected districts where the farm sector had taken a severe

hit as crops in large swathe of lands had been damaged and

nearly two lakh trees, including coconut and plantain,

uprooted, leaving the farmers in acute distress.

Life was limping back to normalcy in urban areas with

electricity being restored gradually, the reports said.

Several ministers were deputed to the affected districts

to oversee and speed up relief operations.

Over 1.31 lakh people had been accommodated in relief

camps in the badly-hit Nagapattinam district which was visited

Monday by five ministers, including P Thangamani (Electricity)

and S P Velumani as part of efforts to speed up relief and

restoration works.

Protests were held by residents in parts of Thanjavur

and Thiruvarur districts, demanding early restoration of

power and drinking water supply.

Facing flak over alleged tardy relief measures, the

state government Monday said people should not think that only

such protests would solve their problems and asserted it was

working to reach out to all.

President Kovind wrote on his official Twitter handle

that he spoke with the chief minister and enquired about the

situation in the aftermath of the cyclone.

"Spoke to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and enquired

about the situation in the aftermath of Cyclone Gaja,

expressed condolences to bereaved families," he said.

"People and government of India are standing by those

in distress in the state. #PresidentKovind," he added.

Palaniswami held a meeting with his cabinet colleagues,

including deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, and senior

IAS officials here.

A brief official release said the chief minister took

stock of the ongoing relief activities, besides discussing the

further steps to be taken by the government.

The cyclone which crossed the coast with a speed of up

to 120 kmph has left a trail of destruction, uprooting 1.7

lakh trees and damaging 88,102 hectares of agricultural land.

It caused severe damage in the districts of Cuddalore,

Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and

Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal in neighbouring


Principal opposition DMK announced contribution of one

month's salary of its MPs and MLAs towards cyclone relief

activities besides Rs one crore from the DMK Trust for the


Amid the continuing protests, Revenue Minister R B

Udayakumar said the government was reaching out to all

concerned and that people should not think that only

agitations will draw its attention to their issues.

"Drinking water is provided (in the affected areas)

and power is being given through gensets, even as we have

adequate stocks in ration shops," he told reporters here.

He claimed people with 'anti-social mentality' were

behind such protests and asked the public to shun them.

On Sunday, irate people in Kotthamangalam village in

Puthukottai district had gone on a rampage, setting ablaze

several government vehicles and clashed with the police,

protesting alleged failure of officials to provide them


Meanwhile, Electricity Minister Thangamani said the

department had suffered significant losses in Nagapattinam,

Thanjavur, Puthukottai and Thiruvarur districts.

Over 98,000 electric poles and 846 transformers

have been severely damaged and nearly 15,000 workers were

enaged in restoration works, he said.

Power supply was being restored on a 'war-footing'

and additional manpower had been sought from neighbouring

states including Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, he told reporters

in Nagapattinam.

Supply had been restored in town areas and for

hospitals, he added.

The Health Ministry said that over 1,700

medical camps have been held and about 1.06 lakh people

screened as part of preventive measures in affected areas.

Drinking water was being chlorinated to prevent outbreak

of any epidemic even as private water tankers were also being

monitored, a department release said.

Defogging operations and spraying of disinfectants were

also being carried out.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)