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
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
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.)