No major fiscal impact of tsunami: Chidambaram

Monday, 27 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI :Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has ruled out any major fiscal impact due to Sunday's tsunami that hit the southern coast, killing thousands of people.

"It is too early to assess the damage. I don't think there will be any great fiscal impact," Chidambaram told media Monday on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

"Our system is equipped to manage the crisis. Nobody expected the tsunami to hit India. It was unexpected so I don't think there is any need to blame anyone," said Chidambaram.

"There is crisis management within the system and the money needed to manage it will be found."

He urged industry to contribute generously towards relief measures from their profits this year and said he would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later in the evening to chalk out relief measures for the affected people.

"It is too early to make estimates of property damage. The loss of lives is very high. The estimates are that close to 3,000 people so far have died. More bodies are being recovered. Many people who went to sea are still unaccounted for."

Chidambaram said he would be touring the affected areas.

"It is important first to provide relief to those who have lost their close relatives particularly those who have lost the family bread winner," he said, urging the industry to contribute generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

"There will be a short term impact, but in the long term there should not be any impact as far as tourists are concerned except in the case of Kanyakumari and the Mahabalipuram area. But all that can be mended in a few days."

The finance minister said there has not been report of damage to any major ports. Both Chennai and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and Kochi port in Kerala are all safe.

Source: IANS
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