Odisha to get drought assistance as announced: Rajnath

Bhubaneswar: Rejecting apprehension of Odisha government about possible deduction of Rs 214 crore from the drought assistance earlier announced by the Centre, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the state will get the amount as decided at the high level committee.

“The fund is not fully released for the state yet.

However, the state will get the amount (Rs 815 crore) as decided by the high level committee,” Singh told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.

Stating that the Chief Minister has drawn his attention to possible deduction of Rs 214 crore from the announced drought assistance of Rs 815 crore, Singh said “The state will get assistance in the supplementary budget.”

“During the meeting, I had drawn attention of the Union Home Minister regarding deduction of 20 per cent of the announced amount,” Patnaik told reporters.

Earlier, the state government had protested the Centre’s decision to cut the financial assistance for drought in 2015 by Rs 214 crore.

Though the Centre had announced assistance of Rs 815 crore for Odisha drought in 2015, which affected 28 of the total 30 districts, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a letter to the state government on January 22 this year stated that it would provide drought assistance of Rs 600.52 crore as against Rs 815 crore it had announced earlier.

“I had also drawn attention of the Union Home Minister on non-payment of arrear amount of assistance towards 2013 Cyclone Phailin,” Patnaik said.

The issue had also sparked a political row with the opposition Congress criticising the NDA government for deducting the drought assistance.