SRC confirms 26 deaths due to Cyclone Titli-related incidents

Bhubaneswar: A day after the State unit of BJP accused Odisha government of hiding actual figures on casualties in cyclonic storm Titli, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi today accepted that 26 persons lost their lives in different districts due to the cyclone-related incidents.

Addressing a presser in Bhubaneswar today, Sethi informed that of the total 26 deaths, 18 have died in Gajapati district. “Total 15 casualties were reported from Baraghara village, two in Labanyagada village and one in another village,” Sethi added.

Besides, three people were killed in Ganjam and one each in Angul, Cuttack, Keonjhar, Nayagarh and Kandhamal districts in the aftermath of the cyclonic storm.

“Based on the information provided, police and magistrate are investigating each case and assistance will be provided thereafter,” he said.

A total of 151 roads in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal districts got completely damaged whereas 1.48 lakh hectares of paddy crop were destroyed in the natural calamity.

As many as 57 lakh people of 144 blocks in 16 districts have been affected by the cyclone and post flood situation, the SRC said.

He informed that the government would get preliminary report on the losses tomorrow.

Though unconfirmed sources claimed the deaths due to the cyclone and subsequent floods in the State have touched 50, the State government has maintained the number at 26.

The Odisha government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the Next of Kin of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Minister Surya Narayan today made a volte-face saying he had no information on the casualties when the disaster struck but later on realised that media was correct.

He  further said, “Odisha achieved Zero Casualty in Cyclone Titli. People died in a landslide following heavy rain and floods and not during Titli.”