Cyclone Vardah: Opposition Demands Financial Package


Chennai: Opposition Congress, Left and DMK on Wednesday sought immediate sanction a financial package to provide relief to cyclone ravaged Tamil Nadu, a demand which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said will be considered by the government.

Jaitley said the government shares the concerns over the devastation caused by cyclone Vardah in Chennai and surrounding districts. “It is serious crisis.”

While some advance preparation was done by moving the NDRF teams and deploying army columns, the Centre will do whatever is needed to provide relief, he said. “I have heard the members. I will take into consideration” their suggestions and the government will decide on relief after consultations with the concerned authorities, he said.

Earlier, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Centre should immediately respond to Tamil Nadu government’s request for financial aid. State government usually ask for more and central government gives less, he said adding the Centre must announce the package by Wednesday.

Chidambaram said it should be ensured that ATMs and bank branches are replenished so people can draw their own money. D Raja (CPI) said the cyclone has devastated many districts of Tamil Nadu including Chennai, leaving a number of people dead, uprooting thousands of trees, snapping telecommunication lines and plunging several cities into darkness.

 The tragedy has been compounded by demonetisation, leaving no cash with the people to buy necessities, he said asking the government to reconsider its decision to junk old 1000 and 500 rupee notes. Raja said the Centre should not delay in agreeing to provide Rs 1000 crore sought from the National Disaster Fund.

A DMK MLA said that commercial loses are at Rs 8,000 crore and demanded that a central team be sent to assess the damage. T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) and Subramanian Swamy (BJP) demanded that crisis management teams be sent to Tamil Nadu to access the damage.