Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Monday announced financial assistance of Rs 2,000 each for 60 lakh families below the poverty line (BPL) in the state affected by Cyclone Gaja, drought and failure of rains. Announcing this in the Assembly, Palaniswami said taking into account that the poor in several districts were affected by Cyclone Gaja, failure of rains and drought, the government has decided to give Rs 2,000 as one-time special assistance to BPL families.
Cyclone Gaja, a severe cyclonic storm that hit coastal and delta regions of the state in November last year left a trail of destruction in its wake, destroying hundreds of acres of prime agricultural crops, livestock and power lines across Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Trichy, Pudukkottai, Dindigul and Puducherry.
The Chief Minister also said that the outlay for this distribution of special assistance will be Rs 1,200 crore and will be made in the supplementary demands for grants to be made this fiscal year.
The Chief Minister also said that 35 lakh families in villages and 25 lakh families in cities will be benefited by this financial assistance.
According to him, the financial assistance will be of great help, especially to agricultural workers, fishermen, workers in fire cracker units, handloom weavers, tree climbers and others.
With speculation rife that the AIADMK may join hands with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) ahead of the 2019 General Elections, PMK chief S Ramadoss welcomed the announcement. He suggested that the government should announce payment of Rs 2,000 to poor every month as a measure to eradicate poverty.
It may be recalled that earlier last month, the government paid Rs 1,000 as cash gift and gift hamper to ration card holders -- BPL and non-priority households with sugar only ration card -- as a Pongal festival bonanza. The Madras High Court had pointed out that it was public money, and not party money.
(With IANS input)