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Titli deaths: Odisha CM hikes ex gratia from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik increased the ex gratia amount for families of those who died in the cyclonic storm Titli and subsequent floods from Rs 4 to Rs 10 lakh.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik increased the ex gratia amount for families of those who died in the cyclonic storm Titli and subsequent floods from Rs 4 to Rs 10 lakh. He also announced that the state will shoulder the burden of educating the children who lost their parents in the calamity.

Meanwhile, after six days of the calamity, the state government admitted to a death toll of 52 and said that 10 others were missing. Of the 52 casualties, the maximum, 39, occurred in Gajapati district followed by 12 in Ganjam district.

The preliminary estimates put the damage costs at Rs 2,200 crore.

The CM visited Gangabada panchayat of Gajapati district and spent 20 minutes there talking to affected people and officers.

“Never in the history of Odisha people ever died from landslide. Landslide is completely a new phenomenon in Odisha,” he said while referring to 16 deaths due on the hill top village.

“All steps will be taken to rehabilitate the affected families,” added the CM.

Vulnerability mapping of all villages and habitations located in hilly and difficult regions will be made. All facilities will be provided to the people where ever they shift to.

“Many villagers have expressed their willingness to shift from hilltop to other locations. These new settlements will be declared as villages and all basic facilities like drinking water, anganwadi centres, school, community centres and health facilities will be provided,” said the CM.

Provisions of connectivity, homestead land, house building assistance, social security will be made immediately.

State will provide for the education and other expenses who have been orphaned due to natural calamity, he said.

The Chief Minister went to Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district and reviewed the restoration work.

Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “Total deaths due to drowning and landslide post cyclone Titli is 52. On the basis of local inquiry and statement from villagers, the number of deaths is confirmed. Besides, 10 more death cases are being verified.”

Apart from this, preliminary estimates revealed that Odisha has incurred a loss of Rs 2,200 crore in the aftermath of the cyclonic storm, he added.

“Of the Rs 2,200 crore, the road damage is estimated to be Rs 500 crore, electricity systems Rs 133 crore, houses Rs 150 crore, while Rs 233 crore crop damage has been estimated on the basis of the input subsidy cost,” stated the chief secretary .

Special relief commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said the situation in Rayagada and Ganjam districts is getting normalised while stating relief and restoration work are being carried out in Gajapati district on war footing.

It may be noted that the Opposition Congress and BJP had criticised the state government for indulging in propaganda of “zero casualty” and over 3 lakh being evacuated while refusing the admit the number of deaths and failure in providing relief.

For three days the government did not even have information of the 16 who died in Gajapati district due to a landslide when they climbed up the hill to save themselves from the cyclone.

Affected people in Gajapati, Rayagada and Ganjam districts did not get water or relief for three days, the Opposition had alleged.