Two days after Cyclone Nisarga claimed 6 lives and wreaked havoc in over a dozen districts, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday visited Raigad - the worst-hit in Maharashtra and announced an initial aid of Rs 100 crore.
Addressing the media, the CM made it clear that "this is not an aid package" but just a preliminary amount given to the district for relief works pending completion of formalities before the full package is announced.
Thackeray said that priority is being given to restoring power and telecommunication lines besides repairing the damaged houses of people.
After taking a whirlwind tour of some of the most devastated areas in the district, Thackeray said the work of preparing the 'panchnama', which was ordered within two days may be prolonged as the extent of damage is too widespread.
However, as an immediate relief, he announced Rs 100-crore financial assistance through the district collectorate.
"We tried out best to ensure there was no loss of lives, but unfortunately, 6 people were killed in the cyclone," said Thackeray.
He also assured full help to the farmers and fisherfolk who have suffered huge damage to their crops or fishing boats, and assured nobody would be left in the lurch by the government.
Earlier, Thackeray took a Ro-Ro boat for the hour-long ride from Bhaucha Dhakka in south Mumbai to Alibaug on the mainland, accompanied by Ministers Aditya Thackeray, Aslam Shaikh, Additional Chief Secretary A. K. Singh and other senior officials.
At Raigad, he went around some of the most ravaged villages along with Guardian Minister Aditi Tatkare, Collector Nidhi Choudhari, Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar and others, and thanked the people for their support and courage in facing the natural calamity.
On Thursday, Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut had visited Raigad to take stock of the prevailing situation and direct the efforts to restore power supply in the district on top priority.
Simultaneously, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar took a tour of the worst-affected areas in Pune district accompanied by senior officials.
In Raigad, an estimated few lakh homes have been damaged, while around 13,000 'kutchaa' houses reduced to rubble; over 100,000 trees uprooted; thousands of electric poles; 14 electric substations and 1,962 transformers were razed; 500 mobile towers have fallen; 10 fishing boats damage; over 5,033 hectares of farmlands besides 12 acres of fish farms have been destroyed.
Thackeray on Thursday held a video-conference meeting with all the District Collectors and Divisional Commissioners for an assessment of the situation and directed that all 'panchnamas' must be completed within 2 days to enable the government to extend aid to the affected people.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar has said that around 13-14 districts - or more than one-third of Maharashtra's 36 districts - were affected by Nisarga and he would go on a tour from Saturday for a spot assessment of the damages.
Nearly 76,200 people from low-lying or risk-prone areas were shifted to safer locations to avoid the cyclone fury which claimed 6 lives and injured another 16 in different parts of the state.