People exiting Chennai following lack of govt support: Stalin

Chennai, June 24 (PTI) People were leaving the city in 'hordes' to their native places not only due to the coronavirus scare, but also owing to 'frustration' as the state government 'did not do anything' for the livelihood affected sections, DMK chief M K Stalin alleged on Wednesday.

Citing a popular Tamil phrase which meant that Chennai will make anyone coming to the city prosper in life, Stalin said notwithstanding it, 'thousands of dejected' people left the state capital everyday to their native places.

'Coronavirus scare alone is not the reason for it. They are exiting the city out of despair and frustration as the government did not come forward to do anything for livelihood affected people,' he alleged in a statement.

His remarks came in the backdrop of reports that many were returning to their native places in other parts of the state with the COVID-19 cases continuing to surge in the city and outskirts.

Asking if it was not the duty of the government to have instilled confidence in the minds of people, the DMK chief wondered what would they do if the government's 'lack of support' too added to their present travails.

'Can Chief Minister K Palaniswami hide himself?' he asked and underscored that he had been batting for a cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per month for people whose livelihood has been affected due to the coronavirus.

Alleging that the government has given time upto July 15 only for Chennai, Chengelpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur to remit payment for electricity consumption, he asked if people in other districts were not affected.

Flaying the practice of distributing Rs 1,000 cash assistance at a common place in a neighbourhood, he alleged that it also paved the way for the spread of coronavirus in view of 'crowd,' and 'lack of social distancing'.

The Rs 1,000 cash assistance is the second round of disbursement here and parts of three districts near the state capital since the lockdown began in March.

Ridiculing the Central and state governments for announcing 'lockdown within a lockdown' he said Wedensday marked the 90th day of implementation of lockdown.

The government has implemented an intense 12-day lockdown from June 19 in the city and parts of three neighbouring districts, where the case load has been high, reversing relaxations announced earlier as part of unlock-1.

Similarly, Madurai and nearby areas too have come under curbs from Wednesday and it will be effective till June 30.

'The Central and state governments, which thought that lockdown is the only way out to curb the spread of coronavirus did not come forward to lend a helping hand to livelihood affected people,' he alleged.

The top DMK leader urged Palaniswami to take steps to 'save the people from the pandemic and not waste time the way the 90 day lockdown period had been wasted.' PTI VGN VS VS