Bhubaneswar, May 6 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday conducted an aerial survey of cyclone-ravaged areas of Odisha and announced an additional central assistance of INR 1,000 crore for relief works in the state.
He also mooted a long-term disaster mitigation plan for all coastal states, which are vulnerable to such calamities.
Cyclone ‘Fani’ caused widespread destruction in the state on Friday and claimed at least 34 lives.
Noting that the Centre had earlier released INR 381 crore for the state ahead of the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone, Modi said another INR 1,000 crore will be released immediately keeping in view the requirement of the state to ensure speedy relief and restoration work in areas affected by the natural calamity.
The Centre will also provide INR 2 lakh for the families of the deceased and INR 50,000 for those injured in the storm.
After the aerial survey, the prime minister told reporters, “The Naveen Patnaik-led government has done a commendable job in evacuating the coastal areas to avoid loss of lives.”
A central team will soon visit Odisha to make a detailed assessment of the extent of damage caused by the cyclone, which has affected more than one crore people in over 14,000 villages of the state, so that further assistance could be provided for restoration of essential services, Modi said, adding at present, the focus is on restoring communication and healthcare services and supply of water and power.
“A team of PMO officials, which came with me, will also be stationed in the state to extend help,” he said.
Emphasising that men, machine and money are essential for speedy restoration and relief works, the prime minister said adequate manpower, equipment and funds will be made available and both the Centre and state government will work in coordination to tide over the situation.
Noting that natural calamities like cyclone are a regular menace for states like Odisha, the prime minister said, a long-term plan will be prepared for dealing with such disasters in all coastal states of the country.
The Odisha government has been requested to prepare a blueprint highlighting their requirements which can be incorporated in the comprehensive plan, he said.
Modi also praised the people of Odisha, particularly the fishermen, for shifting to safer places, such as cyclone shelters.
“Shifting of more than 12 lakh people in a short span of time is not a small task, it is a major job. It has minimised loss of life. If a building collapses, we can rebuild it, but loss of life is irreplaceable. It is my greatest satisfaction that human lives have been saved,” he said.
The prime minister said, he had been constantly monitoring the movement of the cyclone, despite his hectic campaign schedule.
In the high-level review meeting held at Bhubaneswar Airport, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik submitted an interim memorandum to the prime minister seeking an assistance of INR 17,000 crore.