Cyclone Michaung | Cash relief likely to cover 25 to 30 lakh families in T.N.

Certain stipulations are going to be laid down in the Government Order, which will empower District Collectors to notify the affected areas

December 10, 2023 03:50 pm | Updated December 19, 2023 12:19 pm IST - CHENNAI

Fishermen rescuing people affected in flood during the impact of Cyclone Michaung at Velachery in Chennai on December 5, 2023

Fishermen rescuing people affected in flood during the impact of Cyclone Michaung at Velachery in Chennai on December 5, 2023 | Photo Credit: Akhila Easwaran

The Tamil Nadu government’s cash relief of ₹6,000 each for cyclone Michaung- and flood-affected residents may cover nearly 25 lakh to 30 lakh families in Chennai and parts of the neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu.

The distribution is to be carried out through fair price shops, keeping ration cards as the basis. Of the beneficiaries to be covered, a large chunk of them is in Chennai, where the number of cards is in the range of 17 lakh to 18 lakh. In the neighbouring districts, taluks not hit by the cyclone will not be covered.

Also Read | Shared blame: On Chennai and Cyclone Michaung

The exact number of beneficiaries will be known only after the distribution, as certain stipulations are going to be laid down in the Government Order, which will empower District Collectors to notify the affected areas. The move to provide the relief would cost at least ₹1,500 crore to the exchequer.  

The government’s focus is on those whose “livelihood opportunities” have been adversely affected.  “Most probably, a detailed government order will be out on Monday,” says a senior official in the government. The order will stipulate every detail in this regard. The distribution is likely to begin in a week or so. 

On Saturday, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced that the families affected by Cyclone Michaung in the Greater Chennai Corporation and the three districts would be provided with the cash relief of  ₹6,000 each.

Asked why the mode of direct benefit transfer through banks has not been used, one of the officials replies that during the run-up to the launch of the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai scheme, it was found that the same bank accounts were mentioned in respect of multiple ration cards. Approximately, such cases accounted for 15% to 20%  of the applicants. “Now, we do not have time for verification as we are keen on providing the relief amount as early as possible,” observes the official. 

Another official says that even among applicants for fresh ration cards, if there are eligible persons, the government will give them the relief amount. 

However, there is every possibility of the government’s present method of distributing the relief amount to ration cardhoders not covering every affected family. For instance, Easwari, a clothes presser and a resident of Velachery says her ration card is attached to a fair price shop in Vandavasi of Tiruvannamalai district where her husband lives along with one of their sons. “After the 2015 December floods, officials asked me to provide a photocopy of the first page of my bank passbook that carries my address in Velachery.  I got the money then, whereas this time, I may not receive any, even though my livelihood was severely hit,” she adds. 

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