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CM seeks additional choppers from Centre, more officers, Ministers join relief efforts

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Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Tuesday wrote to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh requesting him to deploy the maximum number of helicopters for rescue operations in southern districts of the State, which were hit by heavy rain.

In his letter, Mr. Stalin said unprecedented rain had hit the southern districts in the last two days, and some locations had received the highest downpour recorded since 1871. While about 40 lakh people in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts were severely affected, the situation was extremely serious in Srivaikuntam and towns in Thoothukudi, he added.

Though the Tamil Nadu government has mobilised officials and teams from the State and the National Disaster Response Force, relief materials could not be distributed to the affected people as connecting roads were inundated and cut-off. They can be reached only through helicopters, he said.

As of now, four helicopters from the Air Force and two each from the Navy and the Coast Guard are being used to rescue stranded people and drop food packets, Mr. Stalin said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Stalin has also appointed additional Ministers and senior IAS officers as monitoring officers to expedite relief and rescue works in Thoothukudi district. E.V. Velu, Minister for Public Works; Pradeep Yadav, Additional Chief Secretary, Highways and Minor Ports; and P. Ponniah, Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj; have been appointed to monitor rescue operations in Srivaikuntam, a press release said. While Commercial Taxes Minister P. Moorthy and Inspector-General of Registration Dinesh Oliver Ponraj would supervise operations in Sathankulam and Kayalpattinam, Municipal Administration Minister K.N. Nehru and Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department Principal Secretary D. Karthikeyan would monitor works in the Thoothukudi Corporation.

For places around Thoothukudi Corporation, Minister for Backward Classes’ Welfare R.S. Kannappan and Metropolitan Transport Corporation Managing Director Alby John Varghese have been appointed to supervise relief works. Mr. Stalin has also directed Darez Ahmed, secretary, Special Programme Implementation Department to coordinate with Thoothukudi Collector to carry out rescue works and distribute relief items.

Kumar Jayant, Additional Chief Secretary, Labour Welfare and Skill Development Department, has been directed to coordinate efforts to rescue stranded people and drop food packets for the marooned people through helicopters.

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, would travel to affected districts to mobilise medical aid. Ministers P. Geetha Jeevan and Anitha R. Radhakrishnan from Thoothukudi district would also coordinate flood relief efforts, along with monitoring officer Jothi Nirmala, the release added.

The State level co-ordination will be done by P. Amudha IAS, while K. Senthil Raj IAS (phone no: 7397770020) will co-ordinate relief measures in Thoothukudi district. R. Aishwarya IAS; O. Rajaram, Deputy Commissioner, Thoothukudi Corporation; and S. Amudha, personal assistant of Collector, have been put in charge of the control room.

Thackeray Subham Gnanadev Rao IAS (phone no: 9442218000) has been put in charge of co-ordinating relief measures in Tirunelveli district. The control room will be managed by S. Kishan Kumar IAS, and Revathy, special district revenue officer, Tirunelveli.

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