TN To Decide On Drought Relief Needs Today

Chennai, July 29: | Updated: Jul 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Tamil Nadu government has convened a meeting of the Collectors of all 28 districts, except Chennai, on Tuesday to discuss on the drought prevailing in the state and decide about the quantum of assistance the state has to seek from the Centre. Based on the discussions, the government would prepare a detailed report to be submitted to the Centre, Chief Minister J Jayalithaa said here on Monday.

She said the government had sought Rs 300 crore from the Centre for the drought relief works, besides one lakh tonnes of rice for works in drought-hit districts.

Joining issue with Union minister of state for non conventional energy M Kannappan, who on Sunday alleged that the Tamil Nadu government had failed to present a clear picture of the drought situation in the state, she said the state had also demanded concession in the charges for wagons carrying water through rail to the affected villages.

The state's share in the National Calamities Relief Fund for the current year was Rs 113.86 crore and the state had already spent Rs 55.9 crore on the relief works. The rest of the amount was with the state government, she said.

Meanwhile, the state government released Rs 25 crore for procurement of dhoties and sarees, weaved by the handloom weavers for the state government's free distribution of cloth scheme.

In a statement, Ms Jayalalithaa said all the weaved items would be procured and sold to the consumers through fair price shops in the state.

Old age pensioners would be given free dhoties and sarees.

Over 25,000 weavers, who were weaving dhoties and sarees for the free distribution scheme would be given 20 kg of rice free of cost immediatedly, she said following reports of opening of gruel centres in several places to help the weavers facing starvation.