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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: The State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday intensified its attack on the Odisha government by accusing it of suppressing actual figures on casualties in cyclonic storm Titli.

Claiming that a total of 45 persons have died in the cyclonic storm and subsequent floods, Odisha BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra said that 40 persons in Gajapati district and five persons in Ganjam district have lost their lives so far in the last five days, but the SRC and the concerned district collectors are claiming the toll to be around 11 and 15 respectively.

"Till yesterday, the Naveen-government was not ready to accept any deaths when 20 post-mortems had already been done. The government is lying and to hide that, it is lying even more. We have names of 25 deceased so far and are collecting other names; once we get all the names, we will reveal it in front of media," said Baxipatra.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president, Niranjan Patnaik also lashed out at the BJD-led government and alleged that false reports on casualties are being circulated by the State government.

"By claiming zero casualty at a time when 45 persons have already died and people are dying and have no food to eat, such claims of the Odisha government are unfortunate. Naveen government has betrayed the people of Odisha," alleged Patnaik.

CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury, while addressing a presser during his visit to Bhubaneswar today, said that Odisha government could have done much more to deal with the natural calamity.

"A proper direction was required from the State government which unfortunately didn't come this time. Our figure shows a much higher rate of casualties," said Yechury.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi said that a total of 18 deaths have been reported so far and a team has been sent to the concerned districts for verification.

However, evading questions on casualties, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said “If the Opposition wants to criticise us, they can do so, but we are currently engaged in relief and restoration work.”

The way political parties have politicised the incident is unfortunate, Patra added.

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