The Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, who left for Delhi on Sunday evening, will brief the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, about the damage caused by cyclone Laila and the state’s response to the crisis, among other things.
At a press briefing before his departure, Mr Rosaiah said preliminary estimates of the cost of the damage wrought by the cyclone would be ready by May 25 and the central assistance would then be sought. The focus now is mainly on relief operations.
“There is not much loss in the agriculture sector except in a few places where the rabi season is still on, and in many places the rains helped discharge of ground water,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state administration reacted quickly to the cyclone warning and took precautionary measures to minimise casualties. He asked the chief secretary, Mr S.V. Prasad, to continue in the same manner and prepare a comprehensive disaster management plan to promote zero casualties.
Mr Rosaiah made light of the TD president Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu’s allegation that the the Chief Minister’s aerial survey would not provide any succour to the victims.
“I may not be able to go door to door as Mr Naidu did but I could assess the situation through the aerial survey,” he said.
While the Diviseema cyclone in 1977 claimed 10,000 lives, and 1,077 lives were lost in the 1996 cyclone, the death toll could be limited to 23 this time because of the swift action by the official machinery in the entire state, the Chief Minister said.