Odisha demands spl package for rural restoration work

Bhubaneswar: Two days after the Odisha government sought Rs 4242.41 crore from the Centre for repair and restoration works following the devastation caused by Cyclone Phailin and subsequent floods, on Wednesday it urged the Union Rural Development ministry to grant additional 3 lakh pucca houses under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) to the homeless families and a special package to expedite the restoration of public and private properties.
 
In a letter to Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, CM Naveen Patnaik said, “I would request you to consider allotting at least three lakh additional houses under IAY for rehabilitation of these homeless houses in cyclone ravaged areas”.
 
Besides, the CM said, “For immediate restoration of private property and public utilities and to protect livelihood of affected people, a special package of Rs 500 cr Labour Budget over and above budget already approved for FY 2013-14 under MGNREGA may be considered”.
 
The State government has also sought permission to engage government/ private agencies for quick construction as the beneficiaries may face difficulties to collect construction materials at this juncture. Some genuinely poor people, who were barred from the benefit as per BPL list of 1997 and Households Survey of 2002, may be allotted pucca house under the scheme, the letter said.
 
In his letter the CM also approached the Center to allow the State to maintain 60:40 labour to material ratio at district level instead of GP/block level for speedy restoration of demolished structures under MGNREGA. He urged Ramesh to raise maximum permissible 100 days wage employment to 150 days for 2013-14 in all the flood and cyclone affected districts.
 
Patnaik also asked the Union minister to allow use of machines for restoration work under the rural job scheme.
 
“Removal of debris and engagement of labourers for restoration of power may be considered as permissible activities under MGNREGA,” the letter read.
 
The IT sector that incurred heavy losses of around Rs 35 cr may be granted special package of same amount for the replacement, the letter added.
 
On Monday, the State government had presented a memorandum to Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami showing a loss of Rs 4,242.41 crore due to the cyclone and floods.
 
Goswami after taking a stock of the situation in Ganjam district had said, “The damages are substantial… We will examine the memorandum given by the state government before releasing assistance to the state. I have suggested to the Odisha chief secretary to take advantage of different central government schemes for long term rehabilitation of the affected people.”