Nagapattinam(TN), Nov 28 (PTI): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami Wednesday said his government believed that the Centre would disburse assistance to the state for those severely affected by Cyclone Gaja “as per conscience.” Speaking to reporters after visiting the affected areas in the district, he said one lakh concrete houses would be built for the cyclone Gaja affected people who lived in thatched dwellings and affirmed government support for high-tech cultivation of plantations, including coconut. Also Read - Crematoriums, Graveyards Struggle To Manage As COVID Deaths Rise, Kejriwal to Discuss Situation With LG Today

Palaniswami, after distributing relief materials to over 400 affected people in the district, said that both the Central and State governments have the responsibility of providing relief to the people. Also Read - IPL 2021: Shahbaz Ahmed, Glenn Maxwell Inspire Royal Challengers Bangalore to 6-Run Win Over Sunrisers Hyderabad

He said the government believed that the Centre would disburse cyclone relief fund to the state “as per conscience and on humanitarian grounds.” Also Read - IPL 2021 Points Table After SRH vs RCB: Royal Challengers Bangalore Move to Top; Harshal Patel Reclaims Purple Cap, Nitish Rana Holds Orange

“We have conveyed the extent of damage to the Centre, indicated the quantum of relief that is needed and what we require as initial release,” Palaniswami said.

The chief minister said that a special scheme would be devised for rehabilitation and it would be led by an IAS rank official.

He also promised full government support for cultivation of plantations, including coconut, cashew and jack fruit.

Also, removal of uprooted trees would be covered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for the benefit of the local people, he said.

The government was acting without any “slackness,” in providing necessary amenities to those affected, he said and recalled the elaborate preparatory work taken up ahead of Gaja’s landfall like housing 82,000 people in relief centres.

In Nagapattinam district alone,3,000 borewells were being sunk for drinking water purposes and work was on in full swing to restore electricity supply by refurbishing power poles, he said, adding that such tasks would be completed in the next four to five days.

“We have distributed 27 essential items (to cyclone victims), including dhotis, sarees, commodities like rice (10 kg), rava (2 kg), blankets and milk powder,” he said.

“The ambiance will soon become conducive for 2,85,467 people in 415 camps to return home soon,” he said.

The Chief Minister said crop damage has been enumerated and aid disbursed to farmers’ bank accounts.

Similarly, steps were afoot to remit cash relief assistance directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries for damages, including those to houses, he said.

Reeling out statistics of the damage in Nagapattinam district, the Chief Minister said a total of 1,11,132 houses were damaged (27,896 fully damaged) and 857 boats destroyed.

As many as 2,32,108 trees were uprooted and nearly 4,500 hectares of plantations, including banana and cashew, were damaged, he said.

Accompanied by his deputy O Panneerselvam, ministers and officials, Palaniswami visited relief camps and interacted with the affected people.

Palaniswami also inspected repair work of the damaged Tamil Nadu Electricity Board sub-station at Kameswaram village.

Earlier, he held a meeting with District Collector C Sureshkumar and other officials to review the relief and rehabilitation works.

Palaniswami’s visit to the district was originally scheduled for last week, but his helicopter could not land due to inclement weather.

The Chief Minister later inspected damaged fields and visited areas, including Tiruturaipoondi in nearby Tiruvarurur district and distributed relief material to the affected people.

Cyclone Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam on November 16.

It claimed 63 lives and left behind a trail of destruction.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.