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Central team returns from Odisha after Cyclone Fani damage assessment

Additional Secretary, Home, Vivek Bharadwaj, who led the Central team, says damage in Puri has been massive, assures livelihood concerns will be priority and MGNREGA sanctions will be expedited

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The central team touring Odisha for Cyclone Fani damage assessment has assured all cooperation and assistance, particularly with regards to the loss of livelihood and damage to infrastructure.

After a two-and-a-half-day visit to the affected areas of Puri, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, the central team led by Additional Secretary, Home, Vivek Bharadwaj returned to the national capital on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters before leaving for Delhi, Bharadwaj said damage in Puri had been massive. He underlined that it was perhaps for the first time that a central team had rushed to the state within 10 days of the calamity and even before the state had submitted a memorandum.

Bharadwaj was appreciative of the work done by the state government in terms of extending relief to affected people in the districts. Food, rice, polythene and cash had been provided to the affected families, he said.

READ | Fani lifespan was longest among tropical cyclones in Bay of Bengal

Livelihood concerns would be a priority and MGNREGA sanctions would be expedited, he assured.

The central team left for Delhi after a meeting with state officials headed by Chief Secretary A P Padhi.

Padhi clarified that the Fani damage assessment of Rs 12000 crore was a preliminary one and a detailed memorandum would be furnished to the Centre by the end of May.

The chief secretary said several proposals, such as relaxation in SDRF/NDRF norms to include damage to HT lines, were put forth at the meeting with the central team.

The state government had presented a requirement of Rs 17,000 crore (Rs 10,000 crore for power infrastructure and Rs 7000 crore for housing) on 6 May when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the cyclone damage.

The estimate was with regard to permanent nature of work with cyclone resistant houses and power infrastructure. Subsequently, it had prepared a preliminary damage assessment report stating the loss to be around Rs 12000 crore.

The final assessment and report is awaited.