Centre yet to release funds for Cyclone Gaja relief: Tamil Nadu government tells Madras high court
More than a month after cyclone Gaja ravaged the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, the Centre is yet to release funds for relief and restoration works, the state government told the Madurai Bench of Madras high court on Wednesday.Updated: Dec 19, 2018 22:33 IST
More than a month after cyclone Gaja ravaged the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, the Centre is yet to release funds for relief and restoration works, the state government told the Madurai Bench of Madras high court on Wednesday.
“The Centre is yet to release Tamil Nadu’s due share of Rs 1,000 crore from the disaster management fund. The state has also submitted additional inputs sought by the Centre on the disaster,” the state’s counsel submitted.
The Division Bench of Justices KK Sasidharan and PD Audikesavulu then asked the counsel for the Centre whether details provided by the state was sufficient and when would funds be released.
The counsel representing the Centre submitted that the team of central officials which visited the cyclone-ravaged areas will submit its report on the calamity on Thursday. The quantum of relief assistance would be decided based on that and released accordingly, he said.
The Bench, hearing a batch of petitions, seeking higher compensation for losses suffered by farmers and the general public in the cyclone and pleading for a direction to declare the tragedy as a national disaster, posted the matter to January 4.
Meanwhile, a team of officials from Tamil Nadu, led by chief secretary Girija Vaidhyanathan is in Delhi to submit additional details on the cyclone havoc and press for release of funds.
Cyclone Gaja made its landfall near the coastal Vedaranyam district, ruining life and property in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukoittai districts. It had claimed 63 lives and Tamil Nadu has demanded Rs 15,000 crore for long-term restoration and rehabilitation programmes, besides Rs 1,500 crore for speeding up relief work.
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami met the Prime Minister on November 22, and presented a memorandum pressing for liberal financial assistance.
But, this is not the first time that the state has complained about the Centre not releasing funds for cyclone relief. Earlier, Tamil Nadu revenue minister RB Udayakumar and cooperation minister Sellur K Raju have blamed the Centre on this count.
“Not even a paisa has been sanctioned by the Centre towards Gaja cyclone relief. The Rs 354 crore released by the Union Home Ministry was Tamil Nadu’s share of the Disaster Management Fund, due for June and December. Even if Gaja had not hit the state, it should have been released,” Udayakumar had said.
The Centre’s delay in releasing funds has given a handle for the opposition with DMK president MK Stalin accusing the Centre of discrimination against the state.