Declare floods a national calamity, Jaya tells Centre

Chennai :  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare as a national calamity the floods that have hit many districts, and also suggested schemes for the central government to formulate to assist the affected families.

In a letter to Modi, the text of which was released to the media, Jayalalithaa said: “You are personally aware of the catastrophic destruction and devastation caused by the four rounds of floods that have overrun numerous districts of Tamil Nadu over the past few weeks.

“I request you to immediately declare this unprecedented, catastrophic and cataclysmic event a national calamity,” she added.

Heavy rains have battered Chennai, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and Thiruvallur districts for the past one month, resulting in floods that have killed over 325 lives and destroying assets worth several thousand crores of rupees.

Kanchipuram, which is famed for silk saris and temples, is located 70 km from Chennai. Thiruvallur and Cuddalore are 39 and 185 km away from the state capital, respectively.

Jayalalithaa said a supplementary memorandum will be submitted by the state government listing out the flood damage and the amount of central assistance needed.

On the loss of consumer durables by many families in the floods, Jayalalithaa said it cannot be compensated through the existing structure of relief payments.

She suggested that the central government come out with schemes whereby the insurance claims are settled fast; moratorium of housing load instalments and also rescheduling of the loans, soft loans for purchase of consumer durables; education loans and sale of consumer durables at the flood affected districts with excise duty exemption.

Meanwhile, Chennai experienced intermittent rains after a two-day respite giving a scare to the citizens who are creeping back to normalcy.

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