Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release Rs 500 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as an interim assistance to meet the immediate requirement of relief and restoration of damage caused to public infrastructure in Odisha by severe cyclonic storm Hudhud.
Patnaik pointed out that though the death toll could be restricted due to high degree of preparedness, extensive damage has been caused to private houses, agriculture and public infrastructure.
“The SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) corpus of my state for the current year is almost empty. Funds to the extent of Rs 107 crore was alloted in advance and spent for cyclone Phailin related expenditure last year. Besides, a major portion of the balance fund of this year’s SDRF corpus has been spent towards liabilities of cyclone Phailin especially in providing agriculture input subsidy to farmers who sustained crop loss due to Phailin and on relief and restoration measures on account of floods that the state faced during June-August this year”, Patnaik said in the letter to the Prime Minister.
The chief minister said a detailed report in the form of memorandum will be presented soon after damage assessment is completed.
The very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud that made landfall near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh has severely affected southern and coastal districts of Odisha.
More than 247,000 people in the state were evacuated to safe shelters from the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone to save their lives, Patnaik said in the letter.
To undertake rescue operations, 16 units of National Disaster Response Force, 10 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 1265 fire service personnel were deployed in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, the damage to electrical infrastructure by Hudhud has been assessed at Rs 104.35 crore. The c yclonic storm had affected 773,691 electrical consumers, mainly in southern Odisha districts like Rayagada, Koraput Gajapati, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri.
The cyclone has ravaged seven power transformers, 1,754 distribution transformers, 1,088 LT (low tension) lines, 2,500 number of 11 KV feeders and 125 number of 33 KV feeders.
The state government is set to send the detailed report to the Centre shortly on damage inflicted by the cyclone.
The office of the Special Relief Commissioner had asked all district collectors and departments to prepare their respective damage assessment reports.