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Rain-related death toll rises to 51

Special Correspondent

1. 36 lakh people affected; Rs.100 crore sanctioned to undertake immediate relief work

CHENNAI: As many as 51 persons lost their lives and 1.36 lakh people were affected by the current spell of rain, a briefing issued at a Cabinet meeting has said.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi sanctioned Rs.100 crore to undertake immediate relief work.

As many as 1,380 villages were affected and 54,525 persons shifted to safer places. About 2,000 huts were partially damaged, 930 huts completely damaged and 68 heads of cattle perished. The Cabinet was informed that 242 additional relief centres would be opened in the affected areas and 48,805 persons would be moved into these centres. The Chief Minister convened the meeting to discuss immediate relief measures and also reservation for Arundathiyars within the existing quota for Scheduled Castes. The meeting deliberated at length the immediate relief measures to be undertaken even as the rain continued to inundate more areas in the coastal districts.

He announced that the next of kin of the dead would be given Rs. 1 lakh each and the huts – regardless of whether these were damaged fully or partially – would get Rs.2000 to rebuild them.

Mr. Karunanidhi deputed Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin to oversee relief work in the worst affected districts – Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Cuddalore. He has asked PWD Minister Durai Murugan to lead the relief efforts in Tiruchi and Thanjavur and sent I.Periasamy to look after efforts in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin.

The Cabinet condoled the death of the people in the Mumbai terrorist attack and in the rain in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Karunanidhi moved the resolution, following which a minute’s silence was observed. Conveying his condemnation in the strongest terms, he said that when governments all over the world were taking steps to eradicate terrorism, it was regrettable that an event like this had happened in India. He expressed the hope that the Centre and the Maharashtra government would take up relief efforts at the earliest.

Schools closed

District Collectors of all coastal districts, including Chennai, and delta districts announced that schools would remain closed on Friday as a precautionary measure.

On the proposed agitation of the Left parties to bring down petrol prices, Mr.Karunanidhi said that both the Petroleum Minister and the department Secretary had said that the file for the reduction in prices were sent to the Cabinet. The parties were staging an agitation despite being aware of this fact, he said.

Orathanadu receives 66 cm rain

Orathanadu in Thanjavur district, which recorded 66 cm of rain during the 24-hour-period that ended at 8-30 a.m. on Thursday, broke the 65-year record of the highest rainfall registered in 24 hours in the State. In two days, Orathanadu registered 99 cm.

Till now, the highest amount of rainfall in a day was 57 cm registered by Cuddalore on May 18, 1943, going by the data available with the Meteorological Department on rainfall recorded by observatories that are known for heavy rainfalls.

On November 25, 1976, Nungambakkam in Chennai recorded 45 cm. On December 5, 1963, Nagapattinam registered 43 cm. Valparai in Coimbatore district received 36 cm on August 4, 2004 and Meenambakkam recorded 35 cm on November 25, 1976.

Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducherry registered 48 cm on November 15, 1991.

As regards the rainfall recorded by Orathanadu, officials of the Meteorological Department say that the observatory in the place is maintained by the State government. The station’s rainfall data have to undergo an elaborate process of scrutiny before arriving at any definite conclusion.

Due to the cyclone Nisha, other areas that recorded extremely heavy rainfall during the 24-hour-period that ended at 8-30 a.m. on Thursday were Thanjavur – 53 cm, Vedaranyam (Nagapattinam district) – 42 cm, Adiramapattinam (Thanjavur) – 33 cm, Muthupet (Tiruvarur dt) – 30 cm and Kumbakonam (Thanjavur) – 26 cm. The cyclone crossed the coast near Karaikal between 5-30 a.m. and 6-30 a.m. on Thursday.

The system is likely to move in a north-westerly direction and weaken gradually. Most parts of north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are likely to receive rain or thundershowers while many places over southern parts of the State will receive rain, according to a weather bulletin.

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