Rajya Sabha MPs on Wednesday discussed the impact of cyclone Vardah on Tamil Nadu and the Opposition demanded that the Centre announce a financial aid package for the state immediately. “I compliment the government for positioning the NDRF in advance, I also compliment the government for making available Army columns for rescue, what they have done is good, but more needs to be done,” said senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Rajya Sabha.
“The first thing they should do is respond to the government of Tamil Nadu’s request for financial aid. I know governments ask for more, Central government usually gives less, but immediately, the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister must consult each other and today they must announce a package, a financial aid,” he added as other members of the House agreed with him by thumping their desks.
DMK leader Trichy Siva had spoken before Chidambaram and had demanded that the government release Rs 10,000 crore as aid for the cyclone-hit state. "The commercial loss is estimated to about Rs 8000 crore and no shops are open and people cannot resume normalcy. So the central government has to send an expert team to assess the losses due to the cyclone, and immediately release Rs 10000 crore for the losses," Siva said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded to the concerns raised by various members on the matter and assured the House that the Government would take necessary steps to ease Tamil Nadu's woes. “I have heard the members, the government shares concern, it’s a serious crisis moment, and has been pointed out some anticipated action was taken in advance, the NDRF teams were there, Army columns were there. Whatever needs to be done will be done, I will certainly have a discussion with the concerned people in the government and appropriate steps will be taken,” Jaitley said.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Tuesday had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking immediate relief of `1,000 crore for carrying out “immediate rehabilitation and reconstruction” in areas affected by Cyclone Vardah. Panneerselvam also asked Modi to depute a team from the Government of India to study the extensive damages caused by the cyclonic storm.