TAMIL NADU

Central team in State to assess rain damage

Tamil Nadu Bureau

CHENNAI: A team of officers, deputed by the Union Government to assess the damage suffered by the State in the un-seasonal heavy rainfall last month, visited Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts on Sunday. The team began its trip with a visit to Chidambaram, about 225 km south of Chennai. Its members interacted with farmers and others who narrated their woes.

At Keezhanatham in the Cuddalore district, women, clutching damaged crops, told the team that the rotten crops were unfit even for cattle consumption. Mahalingam of Vayalur (58) said the pulses sown on his small land holdings were damaged, thereby inflicting a loss of Rs 5,000 an acre.

At Thiruppanatham and Kannankudi, the team members got into the farms that suffered extensive damage. Cashew growers in the district suffered 30 per cent damage to their crop.

K.Manoharan, member of the team and Director (tobacco development) in the Union Agriculture Ministry, said the damage was quite extensive and it was being assessed through two parameters: losses below and above 50 per cent.

Rajendra Ratnoo, District Collector, said crops such as pulses, paddy and groundnut on 89,450 hectares were destroyed in the district. In coordination with the Sugarcane Research Station, the damage to sugarcane was being studied. The Collector appealed to the team to look into the plea of the cashew farmers for compensation. Road networks required Rs 137 crore for repair, public buildings Rs 6 crore, and basic amenities Rs 2.36 crore, he said.

Shaktikanta Das, Commissioner of Revenue Administration, told reporters that the State Government had assessed the total damage at Rs 1,140 crore.

On the second day of its visit, the team would go to Thanjavur and Tiruchi districts; on the third day, Tirunelveli, Virudunagar and Ramanathapuram, and on the fourth day, it would wrap up the visit with discussion with officials in Chennai.

Later, the team, led by Dharmendra Sharma, Joint Director in the Union Home Affairs Ministry and comprising Dheenanath, Deputy Director (Expenditure) and M.G.Jayachandran, Chief Engineer, Highways and Transport, Chennai, left for Nagapattinam.

In Nagapattinam district, the team members made a survey of the Sirkazhi-Mayiladuthurai belt where the crops including pulses (blackgram and greengram), groundnut, sesame, groundnut and cotton had been affected.

Tenkasi S.Jawahar, Nagapattinam Collector, told reporters that about 92,000 hectares of land had been affected. Nearly 900-km stretch of roads, several culverts, bridges and drinking water supply works were damaged and the total loss was estimated at Rs.67 crore.

In Tiruvarur district, the team covered seven sites that had crop loss and damage of irrigation structures. Over one lakh hectares had been affected, according to M. Chandrasekaran, District Collector.

Damage had been estimated at Rs. 72 crore.

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