Naveen cancels Dusshera celebrations

Bhubaneswar: Cancelling Dusshera celebrations in wake of the devastating floods in Orissa, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today sanctioned Rs 150 crore for construction of cemented concrete roads in 3,000 inundated villages, official sources said. Patnaik, who used to visit different puja pandals in the state capital and in Cuttack and participate in "Ravan Podi" festivals in the city, this time decided not to follow the tradition due to floods.

"I will be in the city, but will not attend any puja," Patnaik said.

Of about 8,000 villages affected in the floods in Mahanadi, its tributaries, river Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha, Budhabalang and others, at least 3,000 villages were completely inundated by water. Therefore, the village roads were damaged, said revenue and disaster management minister S N Patro. "Cemented concrete road of 250 meters will be constructed in all the inundated 3000 villages. We have estimated expenditure of Rs 5 lakh for each village," Patro said adding that a total of Rs 150 crore would be spent in for construction of 750 km long village roads.

The construction works would be completed within next 45 days, he said adding that Rs one crore was also sanctioned for purchase of 300 computers which were damaged as flood water entered into gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and block offices in the affected districts.

Similarly, Patnaik sanctioned Rs 4 crore for repair and restoration of 50 veterinary dispensaries damaged in the flood and another Rs 16.5 crore for 300 live stock aid centre. About 3,500 fishermen who have lost their boats and fishing nets would also get compensation for which Patnaik sanctioned Rs 1.59 crore while 6667 metric tons of catttle fed had so far been provided to dairy farmers.

A fishing jetty at Kirtania in Balasore district which had been damaged due to the calamity would also get Rs one crore for repair and restoration activities as a large number of fishermen were dependant on the facility.

Meanwhile, the state government also claimed that it had already completed disbursement of house damage assistance in nine of the 21 districts affected in the floods, they said.