Sunday, January 02, 2005

Ministers visiting tsunami hits areas

The Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran, has said the Tsunami has left a trail of devastation in Tamil Nadu, and the magnitude should be let known to the rest of the country.

Mr. Maran along with the Petroleum Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyer, visited the affected areas and relief camps in Cuddalore today. After inspecting the damage caused by the waves to Thevanampattinam, a fishing village, on the Silver Beach here, Mr. Maran told presspersons that the Tsunami had wrought havoc in the State.

Several coastal hamlets were wiped out, with tenements razed to the ground. Thousands were rendered homeless. Tsunami was unheard of in Tamil Nadu, and yet it struck on a sunny day, killing children, tourists and morning walkers.

Mr. Maran said the "Centre would have no hesitations in helping Tamil Nadu in relief works." It had already lent two helicopters for being used in search for the missing fishermen and taking aid to the marooned villages. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was in touch with the State Government to extend all possible help.

He said the State Government was not able to handle the situation. It should not be content with extending monetary relief to the victims, but should work out a rehabilitation programme. It should pay attention to preventive measures.

Asked whether a natural calamity like an earthquake could be predicted, Mr Maran replied in the negative. However, in the case of Tsunami, precautionary measures could be taken, because when it struck at a far-off place the uprising of sea could be gauged to a certain extent and relief measures organised to minimise the damage.

Central aid

Mr. Aiyer said that based on the assessment of damage by the State Government, the Centre would decide whether to relax the norms for drawing from the Central Calamity Contingency Fund.

Asked whether the Centre should stick to formalities when a grave crisis occurred, Mr. Aiyer said the extent of damage ought to be assessed before arriving at the size of relief.

He lauded the Cuddalore Collector, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, for having organised the relief works well. However, Mr. Aiyer expressed his displeasure over the preparedness of the Chennai Corporation.

The Ministers asked the villagers to prepare a list of those reported missing and hand it over to the district administration.

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Courtesy:The Hindu

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