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‘269 dead in Tamil Nadu floods, Chennai turned into island’

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New Delhi: The heaviest rains in Tamil Nadu in over a century and floods have left 269 people dead, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday, describing the situation as “alarming”.

The minister also told the Lok Sabha that 54 people had been killed in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and two in Puducherry.

“There are no two opinions that the situation in Tamil Nadu is alarming. It is not an exaggeration to say that Chennai has turned into an island,” Singh said.

He said all highways leading to Chennai were closed.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the flood destruction must be declared a national disaster, and requested Rs 5,000 crore as immediate aid to the state.

Responding to Jayalalithaa’s request, Modi announced the release of Rs 1,000 crore from the NDRF.

Chennai, the Home Minister said, had received torrential rains, and the meteorological department had forecast more rains in the next two-three days.

Singh said 30 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and seven columns of the army were engaged in relief and rescue work. The navy had also deployed boats and divers.

He said the central government would provide all necessary assistance sought by the Tamil Nadu government.

Singh said he spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa as well as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Puducherry Chief Minister A N Rangasamy.

Referring to Odisha, he said more money would be released in the wake of Cyclone Phailin which hit the state in 2013.

He said the centre would take necessary steps on West Bengal’s demand for central assistance in the wake of the heavy rains in the last monsoon.

Sudip Bandopadhyay of Trinamool Congress said the central team decided on assistance without consulting the chief minister.

He said West Bengal had suffered both drought and floods. Expressing unhappiness over the minister’s reply, Trinamool Congress members staged a walk out.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal said the minister had not given a concrete reply over the state’s demands in the wake of cyclone Phalin during which nearly 10 lakh people were evacuated to safer places.

Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai, an MP from the AIADMK, said the central government should accept all the demands of the Tamil Nadu chief minister relating to the flood situation.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the central government should call a meeting of Niti Aayog and increase the amount of assistance to the states.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav suggested creating a separate department to deal with natural disasters.

Rajnath Singh said: “The central government has been providing maximum assistance to states and will continue to do so.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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As A Mark of Respect To Karunanidhi, Parliament Gets Adjourned

"In his passing away, the country has lost an able administrator and an outstanding statesman. The House deeply mourns his death."

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Parliament House of India
Parliament Gets Adjourned As A sign Of Respect (Wikimedia Commons)

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day without transacting any business on Wednesday as a mark of respect to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader M. Karunanidhi who died in Chennai on Tuesday.

The presiding officers of the two Houses made obituary references and paid homage to the 94-year-old political stalwart.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan described him as a visionary and a true leader of the masses and said his death “is an irreparable loss to the country and marks the end of an era”.

The members stood in silence for a short while.

A 2 Minute Silence Was Observed For Him. Flickr
A 2 Minute Silence Was Observed For M. Karunanidhi, After His Passing On Tuedsay. Flickr

In the obituary reference, Mahajan said Karunanidhi, an astute administrator, in his “long and illustrious political career” showcased his “admirable leadership qualities and worked relentlessly for the cause of the people, particularly the marginalised and the downtrodden sections of the society.

“A multifaceted persona, Karunanidhi rose to become the most celebrated screenwriter in the Tamil film industry, using the cinematic medium to deliver his political ideas to the masses. The 1952 box office hit ‘Parasakthi’, in particular, was a turning point both in Tamil cinema and for Karunanidhi,” she said.

In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said Karunanidhi was actively engaged in social and public life.

Also Read: TTD gets Dubbing Rights For Karunanidhi’s Ramanujar Serial

“In his passing away, the country has lost an able administrator and an outstanding statesman. The House deeply mourns his death,” Naidu said.

The House observed two minutes of silence before adjourning for the day. (IANS)