Bhubaneswar: In his seven years of assuming the chair of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's visit to the State in the aftermath of a major disaster will be his third but it will probably go down as the one which clearly demonstrates his soft corner for the State like none of his other predecessors had for the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
Even though the PM has toured the State on multiple occasions, experts and common man alike recall that such attention towards the State, just a day after the very severe cyclonic storm Yaas ripped through the State causing massive destruction, shows the special place PM Modi has for Odisha and the people of the State.
It was in May last year when India was battling the first wave of Covid pandemic and no picture of any vaccine in sight, when the nature struck with super ferocity with a tropical cyclone, probably the strongest the country's eastern coast had faced since two decades ago, the Prime Minister turned his attention fast towards Odisha where the storm had brushed along causing major damages before wreaking havoc in Bengal.
On May 22nd, PM Modi landed in Odisha and conducted an aerial survey as well as a review meeting in the State with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
During the discussion, PM Modi shared his perspective on disaster management and also learnt more about Odisha's magnificent disaster management practices adulated worldwide.
A year prior to the eventful day, the entire nation was dipped in the heat of a much-anticipated election, when cyclone Fani struck the State like a bolt from the blue sky. It must be recollected here that prior to that, in last three decades, Odisha had little faced such a natural disaster at an unnatural time (summer cyclone from Bay of Bengal).
Fani which barrelled through the State after striking at Puri, the home of Lord Jagannath caused huge loss of property in a majority of districts and the economic capital of the State. The situation is said to have caused grievous anxiety in the heart of the Prime Minister. The worry drove him straight to the State on May 6 as he stopped his election rallies midway and held a high level review meeting with CM Naveen Patnaik where the two leaders worked on the ways to help the people.
On Friday (May 28, 2021) too, he conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone Yaas-hit areas of the State and announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for immediate relief activities. Besides, he announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured in the cyclone and also appreciated the preparedness and disaster management activities by the government of Odisha which resulted in minimal loss of lives.