Bhubaneswar, Oct 17:
As the flood water receded from many of the inundated districts of north Odisha, the state government today expedited relief and restoration work while the death toll increased to 43 with recovery of five more bodies.
While putting the number of affected people in the cyclone and floods at 1.23 crore, the state government maintained the number of disaster-hit villages in 17 districts was 18,117.
Though the floods substantially subsided in five districts, two blocks of Baliapal and Bhogarai in Balasore district were still facing a problem, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra told reporters, adding that the condition was likely to continue as sea water remained swelled due to full moon day on October 18.
The five more bodies were recovered in Ganjam (3) and Nayagarh (2) districts, Mohapatra said.
Stating that Ganjam, Balasore and Mayurbhanj were identified as the worst cyclone-flood hit districts in the state, Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro said that relief and restoration work was the focus of the government now.
With eight lakh families hit by the cyclone in Ganjam, he said that 494 relief centres were being opened in the district from today.
Relief would also be provided from today in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, he said.
Questioned about reports that relief was unavailable, the minister said, “So far 91,000 families in Ganjam district have been provided 50 kg of rice and Rs 500 in cash from 310 centres.”
Patro said it was observed that the restoration of power structures had been affected due to act of hooliganism. “The people including officers engaged in power restoration activities are being beaten up thereby affecting works at the field level,” the minister said.
Therefore, the SRC said that Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra has asked the police to take stern action against those persons attacking on the officials and workers engaged in restoration works.
“Those who are found disrupting relief and restoration works and misbehave with the government officials, will be severely punished,” the SRC said, adding that if the officials were found dereliction in duties they would face action under the provision of ESMA (essential services maintenance act). (PTI)