Centre releases additional Rs 1,000 crore to cyclone-hit Odisha

New Delhi | The Home Ministry on Monday announced the release of an additional Rs 1,000 crore to the cyclone-hit Odisha as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A Home Ministry statement said the amount would be in addition to the Rs 341 crore that had been provided to the Odisha’s State Disaster Response Force in advance.

As announced by Prime Minister after his aerial survey and review of relief efforts with the Odisha government, the Home Ministry has announced a further release of Rs 1,000 crore for assistance to the state, the statement said.

The extremely severe cyclone ‘Fani’ made a landfall in Odisha on May 3 causing extensive damage in the state and claiming at least 34 lives.

Meanwhile, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, met Monday for a seventh time in quick succession and reviewed the coordination efforts and restoration measures in the areas affected by the cyclone.

The Odisha government has informed that restoration of the power and telecommunication infrastructure continues to remain the major priority and so far around 50 per cent power restoration has been reported while more works need to be done in Bhubaneswar and Puri, the statement said.

The NEET examination, which was postponed in the state because of the cyclone, will be held on May 20.

The medicines dispatched by the central government have been received and all measures were being taken to prevent any outbreak of diseases, the statement said.

Reviewing the relief measures, the Cabinet Secretary stressed that power connectivity needs to be restored on priority basis as drinking water supply, telephone connectivity and banking operations need electricity.

The option of deploying vehicle-mounted mobile towers, as requested by the state, is being explored to provide connectivity in Puri and Khurda.

More than 2,500 gang men are working in Odisha to restore power lines, substations and the Steel Ministry has dispatched about 5,500 steel electric poles and another 15,000 will be supplied by May 14.

The Cabinet Secretary has directed that more manpower should be mobilised to restore power and also suggested that mobile service operators need to operationalise their towers in coordination with the state government, the statement said.

The Ministry of Petroleum informed that majority of petrol and diesel retail outlets are functional and sufficient stocks of diesel and other fuels are available in Odisha.

Three mobile diesel dispensers of 6,000 litres capacity each are being pressed into service.

The Finance Ministry has directed the insurance companies to settle insurance claims expeditiously and the State Level Banking Committee has been asked to convene to coordinate all banking issues, including functioning of ATMs.

The Railways has resumed train services on all the lines. The yard at Puri, which was extensively damaged will be restored fully by May 12.

The Defence Ministry has moved diesel generators to Odisha. Four helicopters of the Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are engaged in relief operations while the Navy and the Coast Guard are also running community kitchens for cyclone affected people.

The Cabinet Secretary directed that officers of central ministries and agencies should work in close coordination with the Odisha government and provide all required assistance expeditiously, according to the statement.

The Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary of Odisha participated in the NCMC meeting through video conference.

Senior officers from the Ministries of Home, Defence, Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Telecommunications, Steel, Financial Services and NDMA also attended the meeting.

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