In Odisha to survey cyclone Fani impact, PM Modi praises Naveen Patnaik
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik for overseeing the relief and rescue operation after Cyclone Fani left a trail of destruction in the eastern state.
Modi, who arrived in Bhubaneswar on Friday morning, conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas along with Governor Ganeshi Lal, chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He later held a review meeting of the relief and restoration work with Patnaik and senior officials of the state government and the Centre.
Watch | PM Modi, Odisha CM Patnaik review cyclone Fani damage
At least 34 people died after Cyclone Fani, which means the hood of a snake, pummelled the state on Friday causing widespread damage and leaving hundreds homeless and grappling with water shortage and power cuts.
“Naveen babu has planned everything very well and the central government will help him take ahead all of these things,” the Prime Minister said while speaking to reporters in Hindi.
He said everyone, including the central and state teams as well as in the district and grassroots level, worked with great coordination in the rescue and relief work.
“Secondly, I want to tell the people of this country that the way the citizens of Odisha and the fishermen and women followed the government’s instructions was commendable,” Modi said.
“It happens that if we ask them to vacate their homes, nobody follows the instructions. This time, the citizens of Odisha have done such a great job and must be congratulated, the fishermen must be congratulated and so the loss of life was minimal,” he said.
Modi was in discussion with Patnaik inside the aircraft in a video tweeted by news agency ANI. Modi undertook an aerial survey of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts.
Prime Minister Modi also announced immediate assistance of Rs 1000 crore for relief and restoration work in the areas affected by Cyclone Fani.
Apart from the Rs 1,000 crore assistance for Odisha, Modi also announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of the kin of those who died and Rs 50,000 for the injured. The Centre had announced an assistance of Rs 381 crore to the Odisha Disaster Response Fund last week.
Assuring all help to Odisha in restoration works, Modi hailed the state government’s efforts in evacuating 12 lakh people to safety in a short period.
“Saving life should be of top priority always. Houses can be rebuilt, but not human lives,” he said.
Authorities have now shifted their focus on rebuilding infrastructure in vast swathes of land ravaged by winds of up to 205kmph, the strongest such summer occurrence to hit the region in 43 years.
The Naveen Patnaik-led government continued to struggle in restoring power supply and mobile connectivity in the worst-affected Puri district and the state capital of Bhubaneswar as riots broke out in several places over demands of food, drinking water and polythene rolls.
In Brahmagiri block of Puri district, people attacked the block development officer (BDO) and looted polythene and other relief material on Saturday. And in Salipur in Cuttack district, BDO was attacked with an axe by people demanding relief provisions.
With petrol pumps closed due to devastation, people are forced to buy petrol at Rs 150 to Rs 200 a litre in the worst-affected Puri district.
Odisha power secretary Hemant Sharma said Cyclone Fani has damaged 5,030km of 33 KV lines, 38,613km of 11 KV lines, 11,077 distribution transformers and 79,485km of LT lines.
He said it will take at least two more days to restore normalcy in power supply in 25% areas of Bhubaneswar. It will take at least a fortnight to restore power in parts of Puri, where the devastation to power structures is maximum, said Sharma.
This is not the first time Odisha has been ravaged by a cyclone. The super cyclone that hit the state in 1999 killed between 9,000 and 10,000 people. The second strongest, Phailin, hit the state in October 2013, and the death toll was limited to 30.
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