L. Viswanathan, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, will lead a Central team that will visit rain-ravaged districts in the State. It will include representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development, Road Transport and Highways and Water Resources apart from an official of the Union Planning Commission, according to a senior official here. It is expected to commence its visit later this week.

J. Balaji writes from New Delhi:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu, who called on him at Parliament House, that the Centre would consider request made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for interim assistance of Rs.1,600 crore to carry out relief and rehabilitation works pending submission of the final assessment of damages by the Central team.

A copy of the memorandum submitted by the Tamil Nadu government in this regard was presented to Dr. Singh. Mr. Baalu told The Hindu that the Prime Minister had assured him that he would take up the issue of interim assistance with Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

The DMK leader also called on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, besides Mr. Chidambaram and pressed the need for immediate assistance.

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