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Relief tardy: Naidu

By Our Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA, DEC.27. The TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, has found fault with the district administration and also the political leadership in the State and alleged that they have failed to rise to the occasion in organising rescue and relief operations.

Mr. Naidu, who visited Manginapudi beach on Monday morning, told presspersons here that the affected were not given proper treatment in the Government hospital.

He said the Minister for Municipal Administration, the district Collector, the Joint Collector and the Superintendent of Police reached the beach many hours after the tidal wave struck the coast.

At least an ambulance could have been sent with five doctors to the spot. But, no such effort was made. A Mandal Revenue Officer would have been able to handle the situation effectively.

No first aid

"Had the Government responded quickly, the loss could have been minimised," he observed. Even first aid was not provided.

A girl, who survived the attack of tidal wave, told him that she rushed to a telephone booth and called her relatives for rescue. Most bodies were taken by relatives of the victims in auto-rickshaws and private vehicles, he alleged.

He said the administration did not take enough care in despatching the bodies to their respective places properly. Some bodies of the deceased, particularly those of women, were tucked in the boot of a car and sent.

`Enhance ex gratia'

Mr. Naidu demanded enhancement of ex gratia to Rs. 3 lakhs in respect of elderly people and Rs. 1.5 lakhs for children. Those who lost their houses should be given 25 kg of rice immediately. He reiterated his demand for declaring the tsunami attack as a national calamity

To a query on whether it was not his failure to develop a system as almost all officers were appointed by him when he was the Chief Minister, Mr. Naidu said: "It all depends on the master. They have not been provided proper direction."

To another question if he was trying to politicise deaths, he quipped: "It is for you (the media) to say. You have reported that the bodies have not been properly despatched. You have highlighted the lacunae of the administration. So, you tell me if I am politicising the deaths."

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