Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre to sanction 5 lakh special houses under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) initially on a Centre-state fund-sharing pattern of 90: 10 as a special case for cyclone-hit areas of the state. Making the demand for 5 lakh PMAY houses in a letter to PM Narendra Modi, the CM said construction activity should start on an urgent basis, as it would otherwise be affected by the ensuing monsoon.
There is urgency to provide pucca houses to the affected people and the state government has plans of issuing work orders from 1 June as it hopes for Centre’s approval to the proposal.
Patnaik said a detailed house damage assessment would be completed soon and the exact number of houses damaged by Cyclone Fani would be known after the survey. Preliminary estimates however suggest at least 5 lakh houses have been completely or substantially damaged across 14 districts, with Puri suffering the most.
He also suggested waiver of the Permanent Wait List criterion for the special allocation of 5 lakh houses.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also thanked the Centre for the support rendered to the state to effectively manage the cyclone and its aftermath. He noted that the PM had visited the state on 6 May and reviewed the situation during which a presentation on the extent of damage had been made by the state government highlighting the need for building disaster resilient housing along the coastal belt of the state.
Nod to increased allocation of free kerosene
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday responded to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s request for increased allocation of kerosene free of cost for supply to cyclone-affected households.
Pradhan , in a letter to the CM , said he had asked one of the PSUs under his ministry to contribute Rs 3.2 crore (equivalent to the cost of 1000 KL kerosene) through CSR funds to the CMRF to meet the requirement.
Pradhan said the additional quantity of 1000 KL had been made available to the state government and sufficient supplies of petrol, diesel and LPG had already been ensured in the cyclone affected areas.
Union Power Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Additional Secretary, Telecom, Anshu Prakash and other officers had a meeting with Chief Secretary AP Padhi in Bhubaneswar on Monday on banking, telecom and power restoration.
Bhalla said power supply to all banks in the cyclone-hit areas had been restored.
He however refused to give a deadline for restoration of power supply in worst hit areas like Puri, saying work was in progress and one out of three circles in Puri had got back electricity supply.
Anshu Prakash pointed out that the director general of telecom had been camping in the state and reviewing progress every day as far as restoration of telecommunication in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack was concerned.
He said 2 crore free SMS and 10 lakh inter-circle roaming calls were clocked in the aftermath of the cyclone.
Chief Secretary AP Padhi said NTPC/PGCL had been given two additional blocks for restoration work. Earlier, they had been given two blocks. “The focus is on HT line restoration work,” he said.
Padhi said the state government had requested for a special restoration package for Puri Gramya Bank, which had been destroyed completely by the cyclone.