As many as 31 people have lost their lives in the four districts while a total of 73,574 hectares of agriculture crop area and 35,796 hectares of horticulture area have been affected due to heavy rainfall during December 16-19
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said a special camp was organised in Chennai for expeditious settlement of claims by general insurance companies in areas impacted by cyclone Michaung and similar efforts would be made in four districts of Tamil Nadu affected by excessive rains and flood.
Following Michaung cyclone, four districts–Tirunelveli, Toothukudi, Kanyakumari and Tenkasi — received excessive rainfall leading to flood like situation in these areas.
Once the water in these districts recedes, she said, special camps by insurance companies would be organised to settle claims caused due to flood.
Under the aegis of General Insurance Council of India, 19 insurers organised a special camp on December 20-21 at Ambattur Industrial Estate in Chennai for expeditious settlement of claims related to the cyclone.
She further said spot settlements were made after survey of the affected industrial units.
According to a circular from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the claim settlement limit for motor insurance, for the appointment of Surveyors and Loss Assessors, has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for victims of Cyclone Michaung.
Similarly, For other than motor insurance, it has been increased from the current Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
The limit for other general insurance claims has been increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
As many as 31 people have lost their lives in the four districts while a total of 73,574 hectares of agriculture crop area and 35,796 hectares of horticulture area have been affected due to heavy rainfall during December 16-19.
With regard to rescue operation, she said a total of 87 sorties have been completed by various forces in the flood-affected areas so far.
The Centre has already released Rs 900 crore as the central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) in two installments to be used in this financial year to Tamil Nadu, she said, adding further assistance by the Centre would be done based on the assessment of Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT).
The IMCT departed to flood-affected districts on December 19.
Seeking to counter the Tamil Nadu government’s claim of a delay in issuing warning over rainfall in the state by IMD, Sitharaman said the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Chennai is a state-of-the-art facility and it had forecast heavy rains in the southern state well in advance.
She said this in response to the charge by Chief Minister M K Stalin that India Meteorological Department (IMD) had failed to issue timely warnings about the extreme rainfall that battered Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, and Tenkasi districts.
Attacking the DMK government, Sitharaman sought to know what kind of measures it took when the weather office predicted heavy rainfall.
Addressing reporters on the measures taken by the Centre in the wake of heavy rainfall in south Tamil Nadu, Sitharaman said the RMC in Chennai has three dopplers that keeps issuing updates on weather conditions every three hours.
”It is the state-of-the-art meteorological centre located in Chennai. Forecasts (by this center) are normally done on a dynamic way, that is every five days in advance. Every day there is a forecast but it warns you five days in advance about adverse weather conditions,” she said.
For the extreme rainfall that occurred on December 17, she said, an alert was issued by the RMC on December 12 itself.
”Either the officials (concerned) have not briefed the Chief Minister properly or they have received the forecast but did not act on it. But there is data that is recorded that the information on heavy rainfall was given on December 12 itself,” she said.
Elaborating, the Minister said the IMD had predicted heavy to very heavy rains in the four southern districts and this forecast was made again on December 13 and 14.
”It was further upgraded to Orange alert, which denotes that there will be heavy rainfall,” she said.
Referring to cyclone ‘Michaung’ which created havoc in Chennai and neighbouring districts during the first week of this month, Sitharaman said industry representatives have informed her that the majority of micro, small, and medium enterprises were submerged due to the heavy rainfall and alleged that the state government did not take any measures to prevent such incidents.
”What are the lessons learnt from the 2015 deluge in Chennai and what kind of measures did the government take? Even now Ambattur industrial area is reeling under floods,” she remarked.