Workers of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the ruling party in Odisha, today held demonstrations in 18 districts of the state affected by last month’s monster cyclonic storm Phailin in protest against the Centre’s “step-motherly” treatment.
Explaining the reason for the outrage, Odisha revenue and disaster management minister SN Patro said the state government had sent two memorandums to the Centre, seeking R5832 crore for rehabilitation works.
“Twenty-five days have passed but we are yet to receive any funds,” Patro said.
He added that after the Phailin, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sanction at least Rs 1,000 crore out of disaster fund as advance pending sanction by an appropriate authority after assessing the damage, but not a rupee had been sanctioned till date.
On Wednesday, Patro led a delegation of BJD leaders to governor SC Jamir’s residence to submit a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Urging the President to direct the central government to immediately sanction the required fund, the memorandum said: “It may not be out of place that in case of flash floods in Uttarakhand on June 17, the PM made an aerial survey on June 18 and declared an immediate assistance of R1,000 crore on June 19. … We regret step-motherly treatment is being meted out to Odisha.”
The memorandum said without the central assistance, the state would not be able to take up reconstruction and restoration of the damaged infrastructure and the state’s economy would be shattered.
Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam district on the night of October 12 with a wind speed of more than 200 km, hitting communication systems and power supply in all the affected districts, while uprooting trees and flattening mud huts mostly in Ganjam.
The cyclone was followed by two rounds of floods affecting 1.20 crore people in 17 districts.
Phailin wrecked nearly 500,000 hectares of standing crops in eight districts of Odisha, including four, which were hit the hardest.
Patro had said crops in 14,514 villages in 12 districts had been affected, hitting a population of more than 80 lakh people. He pegged the total losses from crop damage alone at 2,400 crore, while total losses run into thousands of crores.