In the midst of struggles and sufferings that Chennai is going through in the wake of Cyclone Michaung that caused severe floods and incessant rainfalls across the city, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had on Thursday - December 7 taken stock of the situation and met with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. Rajnath Singh's visit has come a day MK Stalin wrote to the centre urging to provide a relief fund package to the state to repair the damages.
Rajnath Singh arrived in Chennai along with Union Minister of State Murugan and assessed the efforts of Cyclone Michaung. Joined by Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Thangam Tennarasu and state Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena, the Union Minister conducted an aerial survery from a chopper on the affected areas and took stock of the situation and relief measures.
Cyclone Michaung made a landfall between the coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh earlier this week and strong winds and heavy rainfall had sparked a major disruption in and around the city, with most of the parts including downtown reported waterloggings. The flood had inundated several areas and brought a bustling city to a halt, with no electricity and communication channels for a few days.
When Rajnath Singh conducted an aerial survey, most of the areas in the city's outskirts, from Medavakkam, Perumbakkam, and Pulianthope were still not on the road of recovery as the residents lambasted the government's apathy over rescuing them. Most of the areas remained waist-deep in water even as the authorities are taking efforts to subdue the water inundation and to restore normalcy.
After conducting the survey, Rajnath Singh had conducted a one-to-one meeting with MK Stalin and he also conducted a review meeting. When it has been reported that around 20 people had died due to floods in Tamil Nadu, he said that the Prime Minister is distressed about the loss of lives. While speaking to the reporters, the Union Minister said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is distressed by the loss of lives in Tamil Nadu. He is personally overseeing the response to the current crisis and has spoken to CM MK Stalin."
Rajnath Singh further said, "I have also been directed by the Prime Minister to personally monitor the situation here. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Meteorological Department, NDRF, and all central agencies have been doing the best they can to mitigate the current crisis." "PM has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to release in advance the central share of the second instalment of State Disaster Response Force of Rs 493.60 crore to Andhra Pradesh and Rs 450 crore to Tamil Nadu. The centre had already released its first instalment of the same amount to both the states", he added.
Rajnath Singh said that the union government has approved the first urban flood mitigation project of Rs 561.29 crore for 'Integrated Urban Flood Management activities for Chennai Basin Project' under the National Disaster Mitigation Fund, which also includes central assistance of Rs 500 crore. The release of relief fund from the centre has come a day after MK Stalin urged the release of Rs 5,060 crore.
Taking to social media, Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote, "I thank Hon'ble Thiru Rajnath Singh for visiting Chennai to assess the impact of Cyclone Michaung. Shared a detailed overview of the devastation caused by the floods and requested his support in immediately releasing ₹5,060 Cr as interim relief to rectify the damage incurred. I hope he will ensure that Tamil Nadu receives the necessary support and assistance for a resilient recovery."
I thank Hon'ble Thiru @rajnathsingh for visiting #Chennai to assess the impact of #CycloneMichaung. Shared a detailed overview of the devastation caused by the floods and requested his support in immediately releasing ₹5,060 Cr as interim relief to rectify the damage incurred.… pic.twitter.com/YORkpy3Pm2— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) December 7, 2023