Relief distribution a setup: Stalin slams Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami for delaying aid to cyclone Gaja-affected

Published on Nov 20, 2018 03:11 PM IST

CM Palaniswami and his party AIADMK have come under attack from locals in villages and towns of cyclone-affected areas for the government’s delay in restoring normal life and extending relief measures.

Victims who lost their huts due to cyclone Gaja express their grievances to the leader of opposition M K Stalin at Tharangambadi of Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu on Saturday. (HT Photo)
Victims who lost their huts due to cyclone Gaja express their grievances to the leader of opposition M K Stalin at Tharangambadi of Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu on Saturday. (HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByHT Correspondent

Opposition leader in Tamil Nadu M K Stalin attacked chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday over his “delayed” visit to cyclone Gaja-ravaged areas, saying the whole trip, including distribution of relief material to those affected, was “a setup”.

“After five days, the CM went to Trichy from where he took a helicopter. Distribution of relief material and pictures were all a setup,” Stalin, who is also DMK chief, said.

The chief minister and his party AIADMK have come under attack from locals in villages and towns of cyclone affected areas for the government’s delay in restoring normal life and extending relief measures, which some said was given to only a few.

Palaniswami had cited prior official engagements like the inauguration of a bridge and opening up of new government buildings in his native Salem district and neighbouring Namakkal district as the reason for not visiting the Gaja devastated delta districts.

Cyclone ‘Gaja’, which crossed the Tamil Nadu coast last Friday, claimed 45 lives and left a trail of destruction, uprooting 1.7 lakh trees and damaging 88,102 hectares of agricultural land in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur districts in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal in neighbouring Puducherry.

Stalin also targeted the CM for having heavy security during his trip and cancelling his visit to Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts for relief distribution due to heavy rains.

“He went to 2-3 places in protection of party workers. If weather was bad, he could have waited there for a few days, why cut short visit?” Stalin said.

State handloom minister OS Manian was attacked by angry protesters in his native Nagapattinam district and police vehicles were torched and a deputy superintendent of police was attacked by a mob near Pudukottai. Road blockades were also reported from many places.

Cyclone Gaja also wreaked havoc in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, where officials said 201 houses — two fully and 199 partially — were damaged in the cyclone.

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