Central team visits Vellore, nearby districts

Officials say crops grown on 32,887.61 hectares were damaged; the total loss is estimated at ₹29.44 crore

An inter-Ministerial Central team visited several flood-hit areas in Vellore and Ranipet districts on Tuesday to assess the damage.

Officials said crops such as paddy, ragi, maize, red gram, groundnut, cotton and tapioca, spread over 32,887.61 hectares in Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur and Tiruvannamalai districts, were damaged in the rain as of November 23. Of these, paddy alone covers 90% of the total affected crops in these districts. Paddy, spread over 28,751 hectares, millets (804.45 hectares), bhendi (92.21 hectares) and groundnuts (47.65 hectares) were damaged. “Some of the most affected agricultural areas include Nemeli, Thimiri and Arcot where paddy has been cultivated widely for the second season in the year. The total loss incurred due to the rain is estimated at ₹29.44 crore,” D. Bhasakara Pandian, Collector, Ranipet, told The Hindu.

Tiruvannmalai alone accounted for 24,018 hectares of paddy that was affected, followed by Ranipet (2,342 hectares). Vellore was the least affected region with a loss of 341.04 hectares of paddy.

Apart from crop damage, these districts also witnessed severe damage to livestock, properties and human lives. In Tiruvannamalai 1,539 houses were damaged followed by Tirupattur district with 545 houses. Tiruvannamalai also lost 106 cattle, including 81 milch cows, the highest among the four districts, followed by Ranipet district which lost 10 cattle, mostly cows.

More than a dozen persons lost their lives in these districts due to the rain. Together, these districts have also set up 185 relief camps accommodating 13,681 rain-affected people.

The Central team consisted of R.B. Kaul, consultant, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, R. Thangamani, director, Ministry of Water Resources and Bhavya Pandey, assistant director, Ministry of Power. Nodal Officer Kumar Jayant, who is also the principal secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Department and the Liaison Officer, S. Venkatesh, joint director, Tamil Nadu e-governance agency, were also present. The team visited affected areas including Kapadi, Ponnai anaicut along the Palar river in Vellore and agricultural areas like Nemili and Arcot in Ranipet along with district collectors. In Vellore alone, 14 concrete houses along Palar have been washed away.

Kin stage protest

Meanwhile, along with family members and relatives, M. Divya, wife of the deceased army personnel S. R. Manoharan, who was washed away in the Palar river on November 18 in Vellore, staged a sit-in inside the Collectorate on Tuesday. She demanded that the body of Manoharan be retrieved from the river. Immediately, Collector P. Kumaravel Pandian roped in the services of IAF helicopter from Tirupati for aerial search along the river. An IAF team, led by its Wing Commodore Sharan, did a three-hour aerial search operation between noon and 3 p.m from Vellore to Kalpakkam along the river. A report has been submitted to the collector.

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