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Tamil Nadu requests central aid of Rs 3,758 cr | India News


CHENNAI: Fifteen days since Cyclone Nivar devastated the state, the Tamil Nadu government has urged the Center to expedite the release of 3,758 crore for temporary and permanent relief and restoration, as the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) is currently a deficit account due to increasing Covid spending.
Last week, the revenue and disaster management department sanctioned Rs80 crore to the district collectors and government departments, including the department of agriculture and public works, to take over the relief and restoration work.
The Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami, urged the inter-ministerial core team, which was in the state recently, to accelerate central aid under the National Disaster Response Fund (see chart). A memorandum was also sent to the Center for the delegation of a team to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Burevi. “The dependence on the Union government has increased due to Covid and due to a drop in state revenue,” said a senior official. The SDRF is a corpus fund contributed by the Center and the state in a ratio of 75:25, which is allocated in two installments in June and December, while the NDRF is fully funded by the Center. As of November 26, the SDRF was in deficit of Rs538 crore, after incurring Covid expenses of Rs1,898 crore.
On Wednesday, DMK chief MK Stalin condemned the delay in delivering the sanctioned sum even after a week of the disaster and demanded that the government hand over interim relief at least to farmers who lost their harvest in the cyclone. According to a government order, 8,271 hectares of agricultural crops were initially assessed as damaged by Nivar, and the government sanctioned a 5 million rupee relief under the SDRF for input subsidy for affected farmers. It sanctioned Rs1 crore for 2,003.57 hectares damaged in the districts of Vellore, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Tiruvallur, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Nagapattinam and Krishnagiri. The agriculture department reported that 2.89 billion hectares of crops were damaged by the rains through Wednesday.
“We are in dire need of funds … district collectors are told to withdraw money from the treasury as an advance,” said one official. The state sought Rs1.4 crore lakh from the Center for temporary and permanent relief and restoration work, but obtained Rs6,187 crore under NDRF from the UPA and NDA governments.

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