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Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured the cyclone-affected people that houses will be constructed

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TRICHY: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured the cyclone-affected people that houses will be constructed for them under the Prime Minister’s housing scheme immediately and that workers registered under the national rural employment guarantee scheme will be utilized for the purpose.

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Speaking to the cyclone-hit at Thopputhurai near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district on Thursday, the minister promised new houses to all eligible people left homeless by cyclone Gaja irrespective of their socio-economic condition. Many farmers had expressed their inability to pay their premium to cover their crops under the insurance scheme as the last date was November 30, she said. “The aggrieved farmers appealed to me to extend the last date for paying crop insurance premium till December as they have lost everything in the cyclone. When I was interacting with the state health secretary J Radhakrishnan, I suggested that if the state government would pay the insurance premium on behalf of the affected farmers, the same amount can be deducted when they get crop insurance money from insurance companies”, she added.

The Union minister also promised to do her best to clean up the sludge which had damaged the salt pans spread around 3,000 acres on Vedaranyam shores. On the large number of coconut trees flattened by the cyclone, the minister said that the Centre would take steps to compensate the loss incurred by the farmers. Earlier, the defence minister arrived at Vedaranyam in a helicopter from Chennai. She went to various cyclone relief shelters in Kodiyakrai, Agasthiampalli and Arukattuthurai in Nagapattinam district. The minister is scheduled to visit the affected villages in Pudukottai district on Friday.

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