Odisha seeks Rs. 1,523 cr. for relief, restoration work

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Bhubaneswar, October 16:  Hit by twin disasters of cyclone Phailin and subsequent floods, Odisha government on Wednesday sought immediate release of Rs. 1,523 crore from the Centre to expedite relief and restoration works even as the flood situation eased a bit.

“In order to take up relief and restoration work of an immediate nature, I would request you to release an advance of Rs. 1,000 crore over and above the corpus of Rs. 523 crore available in the State Disaster Response Fund for the year 2013-14,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Stating that this would help the state government in meeting the immediate requirement for relief and restoration work, Mr. Patnaik said a detailed report in the form of a memorandum will be presented soon after assessment of the damage.

“An early response in the matter will be highly appreciated,” Mr. Patnaik said in the letter.

Highlighting the “extensive” damage caused to the power systems in Ganjam district which alone will require Rs. 900 crore to be fully restored, the Chief Minister said a major grid station has been devastated. Electrical infrastructure right from the extra high tension transmission stage to the consumer level has been severely 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 the Ministry of Power such as PGCIL, NTPC and NHPC,” Mr. Patnaik said.

With the situation triggered by the cyclone and floods almost under control, Chief Secretary J.K. Mohapatra said restoration of power was essential as it was severely affecting suply of drinking water in villages and urban centres of 17 districts.

More than 300 experts are being hired by the Union Power Ministry for restoration of electric supply in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Vice-chairman of National Disaster Management Authority M. Shashidhar Reddy said 300 electrical experts are being arranged and being deployed immediately in cyclone-affected areas in Odisha where there is no power since the cyclone hit the two states on Saturday.

A total of 647 villages remained marooned in Odisha even though flood situation in Odisha’s five northen districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar slightly improved on Wednesday.

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