Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Oct 16:
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Naveen Patnaik to release an advance of Rs 1000 crore over and above the corpus of Rs 523 crore available for the state from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the current financial year to take up relief and restoration work in the areas affected by cyclonic storm Phailin and the consequent floods, which have wreaked havoc in the state claiming 28 lives.
“In order to take relief and restoration works of an immediate nature, I would request to you release an advance Rs 1000 crore over and above the corpus of Rs 523 crore available in the State Disaster Response Fund for the year 2013-14. This will help us in meeting the immediate requirements,” Patnaik said in a letter to the Prime Minister adding that a detailed report in the form of a memorandum will be submitted to the Centre soon after assessment of the damage caused by the severe cyclone.
Highlighting the extensive of damage caused by the twin natural calamities, the chief minister said restoration of power in the affected districts, including Ganjam which bore the brunt of cyclone, alone requires more than Rs 900 crore.
“A major grid station has been devastated. Electrical infrastructure right from Extra High Tension to consumer level has been damaged throughout the district. This requires immediate restoration for which I have already sought the support of the government of India, particularly the PSUs under Ministry of Power such as PGCIL, NTPC and NHPC,” said the chief minister in his letter.
Patnaik added that initial reports indicate that almost 4 lakh kutcha and semi-pucca houses have been completely or partially damaged as a result of the cyclone and floods causing untold suffering to those living in them. These need to be repaired on an urgent basis for which immediate assistance is required.
“Since flood waters are yet to recede, we have not yet assessed the full damage to the standing crop but the damage is quite extensive covering over 6 Iakh hectares as per our initial reports,” informed Patnaik.
Stating that the evacuation operations were helped by the extremely accurate predictions of the Indian Meteorological Department, the chief minister also praised the coordination between the Centre and state government agencies for evacuating such a large number of persons from the areas hit by the cyclone.