DMK asks TN CM to announce Rs 1,000 cr package for rain ravaged Nilgiris

DMK asks TN CM to announce Rs 1,000 cr package for rain ravaged Nilgiris
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Chennai: DMK chief M K Stalin on Friday urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami to announce a financial package of Rs 1,000 crore for the rain and landslide ravaged Nilgiris district and wanted the region declared as "disaster struck."

The top leader of the Dravidian party, in a letter to the Chief Minister said the State should immediately get disaster relief fund from Centre and take up rehabilitation work on a war footing to see that people got back to normalcy.

The Tamil Nadu government's estimate of Rs 199 crore for rehabilitation work in the hilly district will not suffice and it could have been prepared in "haste," he said.

Over 10,000 people have lost their houses and taken refuge in relief centres and about 350 km of roads have been seriously damaged, he noted.

Stalin said the financial package should be announced in the first phase towards repairing rain battered roads and to build new houses for those who lost them.

"Steps to send back inmates of relief camps (to their tenements) should be avoided without properly refurbishing their houses," he said.

He also demaned that an expert committee be set up to evolve plans to help take on consequences arising out of landslides and heavy showers in the hills in future.

Recommendations of the panel should be implemented on priority basis, he said.

The DMK leader, who is also the leader of opposition in the Assembly sought government jobs for the kin of those killed in rain-related incidents as the solatium of Rs 10 lakh announced by the State is not sufficient.

Stalin wanted setting up of an all party committee and sought disbursal of relief (to people hit by rain, floods and landslides) in the presence of the panel.

In a repartee to Palaniswami, who had days ago dubbed his visit to Nilgiris as "done for publicity," Stalin said it was his duty as a responsible Leader of Opposition to inspect such affected regions, and offer solace to the people.

"There is no intention of publicity and if it (his visit) was considered so (by the Chief Minister), it will amount to underestimation of democracy's dignity..." he said.

Stalin also pointed out that he provided a relief of Rs one lakh to the kin of those killed on behalf of his party and announced Rs 10 crore assistance from the constituency development fund of DMK MPs and MLAs.

His letter was handed over in person to Palaniswami at the Secretariat by DMK legislators.