CM Uddhav Thackeray visits cyclone-hit Raigad, announces ₹100 crore for immediate relief work
Eight of the 15 tehsils in Raigad district, which was the worst hit by the cyclone on Wednesday, are still without electricity and telephone connectivityUpdated: Jun 06, 2020 00:45 IST
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday visited areas affected by Cyclone Nisarga at Alibag in Raigad district and announced ₹100 crore for immediate relief work after holding review meetings.
Eight of the 15 tehsils in Raigad district, which was the worst hit by the cyclone on Wednesday, are still without electricity and telephone connectivity, and roads leading to them have been blocked owing to tree falls. Hundreds of villages in Harihareshwar, Diveagar and Shrivardhan, where the cyclone made landfall, have been witnessed massive destruction, with people losing their houses.
Thackeray said the Rs100-crore fund was being released to enable the administration to extend immediate relief for basic needs of citizens. He said officials have been told to arrange for food and shelter for villagers who have lost their houses.
“This is not a package, but an immediate relief to deal with issues being faced. The actual relief package will be announced once the spot assessment is completed and the quantum of losses is finalised,” said Thackeray after interacting with some of the affected villagers.
“Not only Raigad, but even other districts will be given assistance. Villagers have been asked to send photographs of the damage to their houses to enable officials to complete the survey at the earliest.”
Thackeray also directed the energy department to deploy additional workforce from other districts for restoring electricity, following which the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) formed teams headed by executive engineers at its Bhandup, Kalyan, Nerul and Kolhapur divisions to be sent to Raigad.
“We have been in darkness for three days. The environment, too, has suffered a huge loss with more than two lakh trees being uprooted. Around 15,000 electricity and other poles have collapsed. We have been able to clear the national and state roads, but are finding it difficult to clear interior roads. We need more manpower and machinery in the district,” said Padmashree Bainade, resident deputy collector of Raigad.
Bainade said the relief announced by the state will be utilised for repairing and rebuilding damaged houses. “More than one lakh houses have been damaged in the district. Our priority is to release the funds that will help people start repair works,” she said.
Meanwhile, two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and three teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are in Raigad to clear the roads. “Till Friday evening, 536 trees, 87 electric poles and 243km of roads in Raigad were cleared,” said Sachidanand Gawde from NDRF, Pune. “By tomorrow [Saturday], we will have an estimate as to how many more days will we needto ensure complete restoration.”
Thackeray later met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai and discussed various issues, including relief package for cyclone-hit citizens and measures to be taken while extending lockdown relaxations in the state. Pawar, according to leaders from NCP, discussed the quantum of the relief package that is expected to be announced next week. NCP leader and MP from Raigad, Sunil Tatkare, had submitted a memorandum to Pawar on Thursday, stating the losses are worth more than ₹5,000 crore.
“Pawar has taken stock of the situation from all cyclone-hit districts after party ministers visited almost all the affected districts over the past two days. He wants the relief to be announced immediately. Once the estimated figures of losses are submitted by district authorities by Monday, the relief package is expected to be finalised by the cabinet next week,” said a NCP leader, who did not want to be named.
Thackeray, meanwhile, said the decision over approaching the Centre for aid, will be taken after the assessment of damages is completed. “Union home minister Amitji Shah held a video conference ahead of the cyclone, while Prime Minister Narendraji Modi spoke to me twice. They have assured us all support in combating the calamity. After assessing the quantum of losses, the state will decide on approaching the Centre for financial assistance,” said the CM.
While praising the people of Raigad, for bravely facing the cyclone, Thackeray said they should not forget that the crisis of coronavirus is not yet over. He said there was a possibility of cases rising during monsoon and people should also be careful of the potential threat of monsoon-related diseases.
However, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who visited Maval on Friday, said the state has sought Central government’s assistance and a Central team will visit the state to assess damages. “Raigad and Pune have faced major damages. We will hold a meeting with elected representatives and district officials to decide on relief measures,” Pawar said.
CM takes ro-ro service to Alibag
Three months after it was inaugurated, the roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) service made a trip from Ferry Wharf in Mumbai to Mandwa in Alibag, when chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, environment minister Aaditya Thackeray and other government officials visited Raigad on Friday. While the service was inaugurated on March 15, the ro-ro passenger ferry could make only a few trips before the lockdown was announced in the state on March 23. The large passenger-vehicle transport ship can carry 145 vehicles and 500 passengers during a single trip.