Tamil Nadu Bureau
CHENNAI: A clear picture on the status of damage caused by the present spell of heavy rain in the State, particularly in the southern districts, is likely to emerge by Tuesday evening when reports of the Collectors of the respective districts reach the government.
As the rain has abated, the Collectors, who are now busy attending to the relief work, have been asked to submit their reports by Tuesday, according to a government officer. On Monday, Ministers and other public representatives continued to carry out their inspection of the rain-ravaged districts.
At the Secretariat, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi chaired a meeting of the Ministers and top government officials to review the position.
So far, 17 persons have lost their lives and the number of cattle died in the rain was around 80. The body of a six-year-old P. Mariselvam was fished out of floodwaters at Watrap, Virudhunagar district. As for the extent of agricultural lands damaged, the officer said it would be known only after water receded.
The Kalamavur-Sathyamangalam stretch of the Tiruchi–Pudukottai highway has borne the brunt of the recent showers. According to a senior meteorological official, the low pressure area that caused the heavy spell had weakened. Another trough had formed over the Comorin area, but it was feeble. This would result in light to moderate rainfall over the State and Puducherry. During the 24-hour-period that ended at 8-30 a.m., Kanyakumari town and two other places in the district – Thovalai and Thuckalay – recorded 5 cm each.
In Tirunelveli, Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin, accompanied by Union Minister of State for Home V. Radhika Selvi, State Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna and Collector G. Prakash, met farmers who were the worst hit by the rain.
Apart from an adequate compensation package, the affected agriculturists wanted him to advise cooperative banks to give crop loans at four per cent interest immediately. He assured those who submitted petitions that the loss suffered by them would be sufficiently compensated. However, the agriculturists expected him to have taken a closer look at the damaged crop. “Had he spoken to us for a while, we could have explained to him about the amount we have spent for cultivating paddy or banana on one acre so that he can arrive at the right compensation package,” said K. Murugan of Ayansingampatti near Ambasamudram.
Responding to this criticism, a top official said touring a big district such as Tirunelveli in just eight or nine hours was not practical. Besides, Mr Stalin was well briefed.