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Odisha gets Rs 915 crore

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Jan. 19: The Cente has sanctioned Rs 915 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund for carrying out Post-Phailin reconstruction and restoration work in the state.

Disclosing this at the 9th raising day function of the National Disaster Response Force at Mundali near Cuttack today, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said: “The high power committee constituted by the government of India has decided to sanction the amount on the recommendation of the central team that had earlier taken stock of the losses caused by the gale in Odisha.”

The central team had visited the state in the last week of October to make an on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused by Phailin and subsequent floods.

The state government had earlier submitted two memoranda to the Union government seeking a central assistance of Rs 5,832.50 crore to take up reconstruction and restoration works. The state had asked for Rs 4,242.41 crore for 18 districts affected by October 12 Phailin and another Rs 1,590.09 crore for 13 districts affected by the subsequent floods.

On November 9, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced an interim relief of Rs 1,000 crore for Odisha to take up relief and restoration work in the Phailin and flood-affected areas.

Shinde, who is a member of the Centre’s high power committee on disaster management, said financial assistance has been sanctioned on Friday. Incidentally, chief minister Naveen Patnaik was present at the function when Sinde made the announcement. However, Neveen did not react to Shinde’s statement.

Revenue and disaster management minister Surya Narayan Patro said the state government was not aware of the development. “We have no information. The state so far received Rs 750 crore from the National Disaster Response Force in two instalments,” he said.

Patro had earlier landed in a controversy last month, when he told the Assembly that the state had not received “a single pie” from the Centre as Phailin assistance.

Later, he was forced to correct himself and inform the House that the state had received Rs 750 crore as central assistance, as Opposition Congress members insisted on his resignation for “misleading” the legislature.

The controversy went to such an extent than the state government was forced to abruptly adjourn the ongoing winter session of the Assembly.

The Union home minister today lauded the relief and rescue operations carried out by the state government and the National Disaster Response Force after Phailin that hit the Odisha coast. Over nine lakh people were evacuated from vulnerable areas before the storm hit. Even Japan, which braved the tsunami and later dealt with the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, has praised the evacuation work in Odisha, said Shinde.