Nearly a month after Cyclone Phailin made landfall in Odisha leaving behind a trail of destruction, the Centre woke up to the need for relief to the people on Saturday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcing an interim relief of `1,000 crore each for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
The Centre had earlier thrown the rulebook at the Naveen Patnaik-Odisha government that had presented a memorandum of `5,000 crore.
Responding to charges of step-motherly treatment towards Odisha, central government officials had earlier insisted that they were waiting for the report of a central team that visited the disaster-hit states before releasing the funds.
Biju Janata Dal leaders had, however, pointed that the Centre had not waited for similar formalities when flash floods hit Uttarakhand earlier this year. BJD workers started staging protests before central government offices this week and knocked at the doors of the governor to seek Presidential intervention.
The PMO’s announcement on Saturday, on the other hand, came within minutes of Andhra chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy meeting him with a memorandum on the losses in the state due to the cyclone and the rains and floods that followed.
“The Prime Minister has announced an interim assistance of `1,000 crore each for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for relief and rehabilitation,” a PMO statement said after the PM’s well-publicised meeting with Reddy on Saturday morning.
In addition, the PM sanctioned an ex-gratia of `2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and `50,000 each to the seriously injured persons from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.