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Valarmathi distributes relief to kin of flood victims

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RELIEF DISTRIBUTED: Rural Industries Minister B. Valarmathi (2nd left) hands over a cheque for Rs. 50,000 to the relatives of a 13-year-old girl who drowned in the floods recently. Kancheepuram Collector R. Venkatesan (left) looks on. - Photo: A. M uralitharan
RELIEF DISTRIBUTED: Rural Industries Minister B. Valarmathi (2nd left) hands over a cheque for Rs. 50,000 to the relatives of a 13-year-old girl who drowned in the floods recently. Kancheepuram Collector R. Venkatesan (left) looks on. - Photo: A. M uralitharan

Staff Reporter

Complaints at relief distribution centres; hundreds of residents say they were left out of the lists

TAMBARAM: Rural Industries Minister B. Valarmathi on Friday handed over Rs. 50,000 each to the families of three women who were killed in the floods last month. The amount has been sanctioned from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund.

The amount was handed over at the houses of the victims' families: Nirmala of Kadaperi, Mangalambikai of Pallavaram and Meena of Kovilambakkam.

They drowned after getting trapped in the floodwaters following the unprecedented heavy rains last month. Kancheepuram Collector R. Venkatesan was also present. The Minister also expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

Distribution of relief comprising Rs. 1,000, a dhoti and a saree has been going on in five Municipalities in Tambaram Taluk - Tambaram, Pallavaram, Alandur, Pammal and Anakaputhur. Official sources said 98,000 families were identified as eligible for relief in Tambaram taluk and at present, the relief distribution was on in the Municipalities and would soon be extended to the remaining areas.

In the first phase, about 43,000 families whose houses were damaged were given relief of Rs. 2,000. The present list of 98,000 was drawn after the State Government decided to extend the relief to all residents in flood affected areas.

But there were complaints at relief distribution centres. Residents here said they were left out of the lists, while their neighbours walked away with the cash and relief material.

At Ramesh Nagar in Tambaram, a few dozen residents returned home disappointed after they did not get the cash.

They alleged that officials at the grassroots and a section of elected representatives had short-listed the names of only those "loyal" to them.

Several residents of ward number one and two in Medavakkam and Sembakkam panchayats say their names were missing from the list.

The residents of Kamaraj Street of Anandhapuram in Tambaram were also on Monday seen complaining to the officials and ward members at a relief distribution centre in Selaiyur about their names not finding place on the list.

Gowri, a resident of Bajanai Koil Street, Medavakkam, said her name was left out despite applying for relief through their village administrative officer and their ward member.

Several other residents' names were not on the list, she added. Similar complaints came from other parts of Medavakkam which were severely affected by flooding in the past one month.

B. Ravi, village panchayat president, said the list of missing names had been forwarded to Tahsildar and the Collector.

"We expect a reply from them soon," he added.

T.T. Manivannan, a councillor from Sembakkam Panchayat, says his ward was one of the worst hit in the panchayat. The excess water from the Nanmangalam Lake flooded several streets.

Committee to review

The officials said relief material was given according to the list sent by Executive Officers and VAOs of the village panchayats. The latest lists of names would be referred to the District and Taluk committees. Village Panchayat Chiefs were heading these committees. Once they met, the lists would be scrutinised and relief would be extended to the deserving, the officials added.

They denied any charges of favouritism and said relief would reach all ration cardholders in all flood-affected areas. It was possible a few people could be left out but such persons could apply again, they said.

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