CM sets deadline for house damage assistance

Bhubaneswar:  The State government today set October 15 as the deadline for disbursement of house damage assistance to families hit by the second spell of floods as the toll reached 42 with recovery of two more bodies, official sources said.

Earlier, the state government had set October 5 as deadline for disbursement of house damage for those hit by the the first spell of flood in the Mahanadi river system.

The flood assistance would be given to the affected people though account payee cheques, the sources said.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik gave this direction during a video conference with collectors of the flood-hit districts. "This apart, the chief minister also asked the collectors to provide assistance for clearing silt on the agricultural field created due to flood," said a senior revenue department official.

Patnaik also asked the secretaries of welfare departments to visit the affected villages during puja vacations in order to expedite restoration activities.

Meanwhile, the state government stopped air-dropping of food packets from today and expedited relief operation through roads and boats, special relief commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

Though water had receded in most of the affected 1362 villages, above 100 villages in Aul and Rajkanika block of Kendrapara district and few villages in Jajpur districts continued to remain marooned.

"Free kitchens are closed in all the districts except Kendrapara where 50 such facilities are available for feeding 37,835 people," the SRC said adding that above 25.32 lakh people in 10 districts were hit by the second spell of floods.

Stating that 1.57 lakh houses were damaged in the current spell of floods, the SRC said at least 42 people have died in the calamity. At least 41 people were killed in the first spell of flood in the Mahanadi river system.

Meanwhile, the Inter Ministerial Central Team led by O P Mahey, the joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs, winded up its visit to the flood affected areas.