The Odisha Government has pegged the first round Fani damage at Rs 11,942 crore. A detailed memorandum,however, will be submitted to the Centre after evaluation of the actual loss incurred. “We will take time to prepare a detailed memorandum as reports on damage are still coming from the districts,” Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi said after a wrap-up meeting with the Central team. Meanwhile, the central team has completed its assessment of damage and has left for Delhi.
As per initial estimates, the cyclone caused losses to government properties to the tune of ₹5,175 crore.Another amount of ₹6,767 crore was required for relief and response post-fani. The highest estimated loss of ₹1,159 core was suffered by the power sector managed by the Energy Department. The losses in the Panchayati Raj and the Drinking Water departments is around ₹587 crore. The districts affected by Fani are: Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Angul, Dhenkanal, Nayagarh, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur.
The central team led by additional Secretary Vivek Bharadwaj, Ministry of Home Affairs has ,interestingly, lauded the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the Odisha Government. That certainly is a pat on the back of the Odisha government and such a gesture of approval was badly needed at this hour.
The central team has also assured that whatever support is needed to rebuild the ravaged state will be given.That is a good news. It was for the first time a central team visited a calamity affected state within a week’s time without formal invitation from the government. This shows the future bonhomie between the centre and Odisha.
In the meeting with the inter- ministerial team,Odisha urged the Centre to revise the norms of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to expand the area of assistance especially to power sector.As per the existing norms, only lower transmission (LT) lines up to 11 KV capacities are covered under disaster relief. Since a large number of high tension (HT) and extra-high tension (EHT) towers have been damaged in the cyclone, the Odisha government urged the inter-ministerial team to take up the matter with the Home Ministry for necessary changes in the relief code.
The Odisha Government has also requested the Centre to enhance the quantum of assistance being given to poultry farmers since they have been affected more by the natural disaster.
It was for the first time a central team visited a calamity affected state within a week’s time without formal invitation from the government.
Cyclone Fani’s biggest blow was to the mud houses. More than five lakh dwellings have been damaged. Since Puri district was in the eye of the storm, the loss of both men and material here was colossal.To recall, immediately after the cyclone Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had highlighted the need for building disaster- resilient housing along the coastal belt of Odisha vulnerable to cyclonic storms and had requested the Centre to sanction 5 lakh Prime Minister Awas Yojna (PMAY) houses.
Naveen had also emphasized the need for waiver of the Permanent Wait List (PWL) criterion for this particular allocation.He also requested Prime Minister Modi to consider a Centre-State fund sharing pattern of 90:10 as a special case.
The next step for the Odisha government is to prepare a comprehensive damage report of all departments after door to door survey which has already begun. More than anything else, the government needs to take up the rehabilitation work in a sustained manner. Funds haven’t been a problem ever, the only problem has been quality spending.