Cyclone caused heavy damage in Odisha, report in 15 days: Central team

Bhubaneswar: The inter-ministerial central team constituted to make assessment of damages caused due to Huhdhud on Wednesday said the last month’s cyclone caused “heavy” destruction and a report regarding it would be submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs in a fortnight.

“We feel damage was heavy in worst hit districts though the team visited selected places. The affected people were mostly tribal who lost houses and crops due to the calamity,” said Gopal Krishan Dwivedi, who is leading the eight-member inter-ministerial central team.

Dwivedi, who is Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), said the team met the affected people including farmers, district officials, state officials and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during the two-day tour.

“We saw many houses completely damaged and roads also,” he said adding while maize crop had been extensively damaged,loss to paddy cultivation was comparatively less. This is because the maize plants could not stand the wind.

The team also witnessed damage of electrical installations in the districts of Koraput, Malkangiri, Gajapati and Rayagada, Diwedi said adding they observed that all the damaged roads were repaired as almost one month has passed since the calamity hit the state.

The state government has urged the Central team to submit its report as soon as possible so that restoration work can be expedited.

“We have urged the Central Team to ensure that Odisha gets Rs 399.83 crore under NDRF which has not been sanctioned by the Union Government since cyclone Phailin hit the state in 2013,” Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra told reporters after the central team met the Chief Minister.

Earlier, the state government through a memorandum sought an assistance of Rs 777.12 crore for restoration and rehabilitation work in 22 districts affected by the calamity.

Mohapatra said of the total 22 districts affected by the cyclone, extensive damage had been caused in 15 districts while seven other districts were partially hit.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier met Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley on November 5 in New Delhi and demanded Rs 500 crore towards interim Central assistance for damages incurred due to cyclone Hudhud.