PM conducts aerial survey of Odisha’s cyclone-hit areas, announces assistance | India News

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BHUBANESWAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday conducted an aerial survey of cyclone-ravaged areas of Odisha and announced an additional central assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for relief works in the state.
He also mooted a long-term disaster mitigation plan for all coastal states, which are vulnerable to such calamities.
Cyclone ‘Fani’ caused widespread destruction in the state on Friday and claimed at least 34 lives.
Noting that the Centre had earlier released Rs 381 crore for the state ahead of the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone, Modi said another Rs 1,000 crore will be released immediately keeping in view the requirement of the state to ensure speedy relief and restoration work in areas affected by the natural calamity.
The Centre will also provide Rs 2 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the storm.
After the aerial survey, the prime minister told reporters, “The Naveen Patnaik-led government has done a commendable job in evacuating the coastal areas to avoid loss of lives.”
A central team will soon visit Odisha to make a detailed assessment of the extent of damage caused by the cyclone, which has affected more than one crore people in over 14,000 villages of the state, so that further assistance could be provided for restoration of essential services, Modi said, adding at present, the focus is on restoring communication and healthcare services and supply of water and power.
“A team of PMO officials, which came with me, will also be stationed in the state to extend help,” he said.
Emphasising that men, machine and money are essential for speedy restoration and relief works, the prime minister said adequate manpower, equipment and funds will be made available and both the Centre and state government will work in coordination to tide over the situation.
Noting that natural calamities like cyclone are a regular menace for states like Odisha, the prime minister said, a long-term plan will be prepared for dealing with such disasters in all coastal states of the country.
The Odisha government has been requested to prepare a blueprint highlighting their requirements which can be incorporated in the comprehensive plan, he said.
Modi also praised the people of Odisha, particularly the fishermen, for shifting to safer places, such as cyclone shelters.
“Shifting of more than 12 lakh people in a short span of time is not a small task, it is a major job. It has minimised loss of life. If a building collapses, we can rebuild it, but loss of life is irreplaceable. It is my greatest satisfaction that human lives have been saved,” he said.
The prime minister said, he had been constantly monitoring the movement of the cyclone, despite his hectic campaign schedule.
In the high-level review meeting held at Bhubaneswar Airport, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik submitted an interim memorandum to the prime minister seeking an assistance of Rs 17,000 crore.
Patnaik also reiterated the demand for according special category status to Odisha, in view of it being a victim of natural calamities frequently.
While Rs 10,000 crore has been sought for disaster-proof energy infrastructure in coastal areas, Rs 7,000 crore is required for construction of houses damaged by the cyclone, he said.
Justifying the demand for seeking a special category status, Patnaik said Odisha had faced cyclone ‘Phailin’ in 2013, followed by ‘Hudhud’ in 2014, an acute drought in 2015 and cyclone ‘Titli’ in 2018 and now cyclone ‘Fani’.
“Such calamities have hit the state’s economic backbone which can only be healed to a certain extent if it gets a special category status,” the chief minister said.
Emphasising that Odisha has set a “global standard” in saving lives of people during calamities, Patnaik said, “Now we should work for setting up a benchmark in disaster resilient infrastructure.”

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