Guj Cong demands Rs 15,000cr relief package for losses due to cyclone Tauktae

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Ahmedabad, May 27 (PTI) The Congress' Gujarat unit on Thursday demanded that the BJP government in the state should announce an overall relief package of Rs 15,000 crore for people who have incurred losses due to cyclone Tauktae.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to assess damages caused by the cyclone last week had announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore.

Apart from the Centre's financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore, the state government had on Wednesday announced a Rs 500 crore package for farmers who have lost their crops, especially mango and coconut trees, which were uprooted due to gusty winds.

A delegation of the Congress, led by the party's state chief Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani, called on Governor Acharya Devvrat in Gandhinagar and handed over a memorandum in this regard.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chavda said the party leaders had urged the governor to convince the BJP government to increase the size of the relief package, as the compensation was announced without taking into consideration the ground realities.

'It seems that the relief package has been announced without conducting any survey in the affected areas. The package is negligible against the actual loss to property, houses, businesses and the agricultural sector,' the Congress leader said.

The state government should declare a package of Rs 15,000 crore to cover all kinds of losses incurred by people, he said.

According to the Congress, over 70 lakh fruit trees were uprooted in the cyclone, for which the state government should pay Rs 7,000 crore to farmers.

The party also demanded Rs 400 crore relief for cultivators who have lost their standing crops.

Over 1 lakh families lost their houses or belongings worth Rs 2,000 crore, while boats worth Rs 500 crore were also destroyed or damaged by the cyclone in the coastal belt, the Congress memorandum stated.

Earlier on Wednesday, the state government said it would provide Rs 95,000 to those who have lost their entire houses because of the cyclone, while people whose shanties were destroyed are also entitled to a relief of Rs 10,000.

Unhappy with this criterion, the Congress in its memorandum has demanded that the compensation for complete house damage should be Rs 2.5 lakh and the relief for a damaged shanty should be Rs 25,000.

One of the most powerful cyclones to hit the western coast in recent times, Tauktae, which made a landfall on Gujarat coast on May 17 and triggered gusty winds and rainfall, damaging crops in 2 lakh hectares in 86 talukas of nine districts. PTI PJT PD ARU ARU