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Jayalalithaa asks PM to declare floods a national calamity

55555Chennai: After a brief respite in the last two days, rains pounded Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu again on Wednesday even as Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the floods a national calamity and sought steps to mitigate the suffering of the people.

As people in flood-ravaged Chennai, Cuddalore and Thanjavur began picking up pieces of their lives after the unprecedented deluge, rains revisited the state and weatherman has forecast more over the next 24 hours.

“Rain or thundershowers would occur at many places over interior Tamil Nadu and at a few coastal places and Puducherry,” a Meteorological Department official told PTI as the trough of low over the bay continued to persist.

The trough of low at mean sea level now runs from Comorin area to southwest Bay of Bengal off northern Tamil Nadu coast, he said.

In Cuddalore, one of the worst-hit by floods, over 1 lakh people continue to stay in 183 relief camps. Thousands of sanitation and conservancy workers continued to battle the odds to remove mounds of stinking garbage littering the streets and public spaces to prevent outbreak of epidemics.

Air and rail services have, however, resumed, bringing some relief.

According to state-run Aavin, production of milk and milk power has been stepped up and adequate supplies ensured. So far, 590 metric tonnes of milk powder has been distributed in flood-battered districts including Chennai and Tiruvallur.

In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Jayalalithaa demanded that the state floods be declared a national calamity and proposed steps for alleviating the misery of those hit by the deluge, many of whom are in the low and middle income groups.

She suggested soft loans, speeding up settlement of insurance claims and moratorium by banks on collecting EMIs.

The Chief Minister demanded that the insurance companies be directed to settle claims fast with “liberal application of norms” to ensure such households received insurance payments early. She said banks should be asked to declare a limited period moratorium on collection of equated monthly instalments and reschedule loans to offer respite to the victims, besides excise duty exemption till March 31, 2016 on domestic electrical appliances and kitchen equipment to be sold in the flood-hit areas.

The Chief Minister also extended a solatium of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of 29 persons who lost their lives in different rain-related incidents in the State.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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