Coronavirus | Citing COVID-19 spike, TN CM urges PM not to resume air, rail services till May 31

Palaniswami seeks refinancing support of ₹2,500 cr

May 11, 2020 07:10 pm | Updated 07:10 pm IST - CHENNAI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami via video conferencing. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami via video conferencing. File

Citing the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday urged Prime Minister not to resume regular air and rail services in the State till May 31.

Referring to media reports on plans to resume regular train services to and from Chennai from Tuesday (May 12), he said, “As the positive cases in Chennai are showing an increasing trend, don’t permit train service up to May 31, in my State.” He made a similar demand in respect of regular air services.

Also read: Coronavirus | Tamil Nadu Cabinet eases lockdown norms in large parts of State

During a videoconferencing meeting with Mr Modi, he also sought financial aid including refinancing support of ₹2,500 crore to the Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation through SIDBI and Commercial Banks to extend support to MSMEs. A copy of his address to Mr Modi was released to the media.

Recalling efforts to combat COVID-19, Mr Palaniswami said as on May 10, Tamil Nadu had tested 2,43,037 samples and 7,204 persons were found positive. Besides, 59,610 contacts and “suspected persons” are under active quarantine. Effective medical treatment has ensured that the death rate in Tamil Nadu is the lowest at 0.67% and added that the discharge rate was 27% with 1,959 patients recovering. He reiterated his request for supplying more PCR testing kits.

Also read: Tamil Nadu to further relax COVID-19 lockdown restrictions from Monday

The State, which has sent back 13,284 persons including migrant workers and patients on 12 trains, plans to send interested migrant workers and others on 61 trains by May 17. He, however, sought early consent to from CMs of receiving States.

The State has received four flights and a ship under Vande Bharat and Samudra Setu missions and over 900 passengers have been quarantined and tested.

Financial support

Pointing out that Tamil Nadu has a large number of MSME units with several thousand labourers, he requested that the annual credit plan target for lending to MSME’s in Tamil Nadu should be enhanced to ₹1,25,000 crore for 2020-21. “A credit re-structuring package may also be provided so that they do not have repayment obligations till December 31, 2020. Fresh working capital assistance should be extended to the MSME units,” the CM said.

Also read: Coronavirus | Recovery rate up; Tamil Nadu records one more death

He reiterated his plea for a special grant of ₹2,000 crore to enhance available medical equipment. Besides, the State must be allowed additional borrowing of 33% above the permitted level for 2020-21, given pending GST compensation and 50% of the 2020-21 Finance Commission grants to the urban and rural local bodies.

Insisting that no cuts should be made in devolution to States from the Union Budget estimates 2020-21, he sought an ad-hoc grant of ₹1,000 crore from NDRF to procure medical, protective materials and for the movement of migrant labourers, the cost which has been borne entirely by the State Government.

Yet again he urged that the CMPRF be made eligible to receive CSR contribution under Schedule-III of the Companies Act, 2013.

Mr Palaniswami sought additional allocation of food grains free of cost for all cardholders, including the NPHH beneficiaries, under PMGKAY Scheme and the Custom Milled Rice subsidy of ₹1,321 crore to facilitate paddy procurement. Besides he sought a relief package to ease the immediate burden on the power sector to help distressed Discoms.

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