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Centre released Rs 900 crore in two installments to TN ahead of rains: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

A total of 31 people died in four southern districts owing to the heavy rainfall that occurred early this week

PTI New Delhi Published 22.12.23, 05:47 PM
Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman File photo

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Centre has released Rs 900 crore in two installments to Tamil Nadu in the current financial year, to deal with the havoc caused by the unprecedented rainfall and flooding.

A total of 31 people died in four southern districts owing to the heavy rainfall that occurred early this week, the Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister said.


Briefing reporters here, the natural calamity has claimed human lives and caused damage to infrastructure and communication systems.

Extending her condolences to the bereaved family members, Sitharaman, who spoke in Tamil, said, "The amount of rainfall that should have occurred for the whole year has been received in a single day. For example, if the total amount of rainfall is 50 cm in a place like Tuticorin, it has received the entire amount of rainfall in one single day." Sitharaman said the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai has ultra-modern equipment including three dopplers and had forecast on December 12 itself that there would be heavy rainfall in the four districts - Tenkasi, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin on December 17.

She was responding to Chief Minister M K Stalin's charge that the India Meteorological Department had failed to issue timely warnings about the extreme rainfall that battered four southern districts and it had issued a red alert two days after the downpour began.

Taking a dig at Stalin, Sitharaman said when such a massive disaster was unfolding in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister was in Delhi with the INDI Alliance.

Maintaining that she came to know of the heavy rains through her party men and others on December 17, Sitharaman said on December 18 afternoon she took up the matter with the Union Home Ministry which subsequently despatched personnel from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to the districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari.

On the funds released to Tamil Nadu, the Union Minister said every year the State Disaster Response Force receives funds from the NDRF.

"At the beginning of this financial year (April 2023), the opening balance of Tamil Nadu's SDRF was Rs 813.15 crore. Of the total Rs 900 crore allocated to TN, the first installment of Rs 450 crore was already released. The second installment of Rs 450 crore was also released before the cyclone. So, we have released the entire fund earmarked for this year Rs 900 crore, to Tamil Nadu," she noted.

Regarding the impact of rainfall in the region, she said until December 21, 42,290 people were rescued and unfortunately 31 people lost their lives despite the rescue and relief works.

Around 800 train passengers who were stranded at the Srivaikuntam railway station in Thoothukudi district were accommodated in a nearby school after being safely rescued with the coordination from all the agencies.

Nearly 200 rail services were affected in the region, she said adding that the Home Ministry was monitoring the situation round the clock, ever since the rains began.

The Air Force and Navy had deployed nine helicopters to rescue marooned people while the Coast Guard undertook 11 sorties.

Through the National Disaster Response Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard 5,049 people were rescued till December 21, she said.

Sitharaman claimed that ahead of the visit by Chief Minister M K Stalin and other officials from the state government, personnel from the central agencies reached the affected areas and commenced the rescue operations.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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