Salem: The death toll in cyclone Gaja that ravaged various parts of Tamil Nadu increased to 45 on Sunday. The villagers of the cyclone-hit areas slammed the government’s lackadaisical approach in rendering relief measures to the victims. Nearly 2,50,000 people have been evacuated and sent to relief camps since Friday.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said on Sunday visited the Nagapattinam district, worst-hit by the cyclone, and stated that he had already appealed the leaders of all political parties to join in the relief efforts. Panneerselvam reportedly said, “The cyclone continued for six hours and has done a lot of damage. However, the main roads have been cleared and more than 100 doctors are in the field and around 6,000 people are executing the rescue operations to restore normalcy as soon as possible.”

Villagers of Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur district in the state deliberately caused road blockades to show their protest against the government’s indifference in helping the people affected in the cyclone.

The villagers at Kothamangalam, near Alangudi in Pudukottai district, alleged that the state government had failed to take any proper post-disaster management measures.

The villagers did not permit the entry of any official vehicles to their district that tried to supply essential commodities to badly-hit areas like Kodiyakkarai near Vedaranyam and Muthupettai near Thiruthuraipoondi, stated the authorities. According to a report by Times of India, police arrested around 50 protesters for setting ablaze five government vehicles.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of each of the deceased from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF). Those with severe injuries would be provided Rs one lakh each while those whose injuries are not grievous in nature would get Rs 25,000 compensation.

Cyclone Gaja crossed Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam on Thursday evening wreaking havoc in several districts of the state including Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur. Apart from Tamil Nadu, the cyclonic storm has also hit Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh.

(With Agency inputs)