Cyclone Fani: Centre releases Rs 1,000 crore for Odisha

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Central government has released Rs 1,000 crore additional assistance to Cyclone Fani-affected Odisha while stepping up work to restoring power supply and the telecommunications network, a Home Ministry statement said on Tuesday.

The Home Ministry released the amount a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement to assist Odisha which has been severely battered by cyclone Fani. Earlier, the Centre had released Rs 341 crore as advance to the State.

The information was shared in a review meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha.

Stressing on early restoration of power infrastructure, the Odisha government said that following deployment of additional manpower and materials from central public sector units and neighbouring states, the power supply has been restored partially in Bhubaneswar, while a lot of ground still needed to be covered in Puri.

“Power supply to maintain essential services such as water, health and banking is being provided through diesel generator sets. It was reported that land line connectivity has been restored in Puri though mobile services still remain skeletal,” said the statement.

Department of telecommunications is coordinating with the state government to implement a priority plan for restoration of mobile and internet services in the affected areas, said the statement, adding mobile service providers have allowed free SMS and intra circle roaming in these areas.

“Cellular towers on wheels are also being deployed in Puri. Banking services have started and efforts are being made to operationalize all ATMs.The Centre has also decided to extend the the registration dates of the JEE advanced examinations by five more days up to May 14 in Odisha. Those students who are unable to get internet connectivity can approach IIT Bhubaneswar for registration,” said the statement.

Reviewing the relief measures, the Cabinet Secretary stressed that power and telecommunications in Puri and Bhubaneswar need to be restored on priority basis and directed the state and Central officials concerned to work in close coordination. He further directed that adequate number of gen-sets and mobile cellular towers be arranged and provided for the restoration efforts.

The Chief Secretary and other senior officers of Odisha participated in the NCMC Meeting through video conference. Senior officers from Ministries of Home Affairs, Power, Telecommunications, Steel, Financial Services, Road and Transport, Health, Higher Education and NDMA also attended the meeting.