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Bhubaneswar: During the high level review meeting made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Biju Patanik International Airport (BPIA) here today after his aerial survey in the aftermath of devastating Cyclone FANI last week (May 4), Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanded for Rs 17,000 crores of central funds for a long term disaster resilient infrastructure.
He also reiterated Odisha’s long standing Special Category Status demand before the Prime Minister keeping in view the frequent natural calamities playing havoc on the State.
While putting forth a presentation of the Odisha Government before the Prime Minister on the massive damages caused by Cyclone FANI, the Chief Minister submitted a memorandum for long term assistance of Rs 17,000 crore.
Drawing the attention of the Prime Minister, the Odisha Chief Minister said, “We have carved a niche in the global arena for having saved the precious lives of the cyclone affected people. Now we need to make a global mark by building a disaster resilient Odisha.”
Accordingly, the Chief Minister highlighted on three main points – Electricity Infrastructure, Housing and Telecommunication.
On the need for permanent disaster resilent electricity infrastructure, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister that Odisha coastline is cyclone prone for which its electricity infrastructure ought to be disaster resilent so that the frequent damages could be averted.
Thus, Rs 10,000 crore of central assistance was demanded in this respect.
On the need for permanent disaster resilent housing infrastructure, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister that 5 lakh ‘kutcha’ (non-concrete) houses along the cyclone prone Odisha coastline ought to be made disaster resilent so that the frequent damages could be averted. For this purpose, the Chief Minister demanded central assistance of Rs 7,000 crore and suggested that the Central and State share should be 90:10.
On the need for permanent disaster resilent telecommunication infrastructure, the Chief Minister suggested before the Prime Minister that it plays a pivotal role during the hours of natural calamities and need to be paid utmost attention so that it could also be disaster resilient.
Justifying Odisha’s long term demand for being accorded Special Category Status tag, the Chief Minister contended that the State encountered Cyclone Phailin in 2013, Cyclone Hudhud in 2014, acute drought in 2015, Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Cyclone FANI in 2019. These natural disasters have adversely affected the economy of Odisha. The State Government has to expend huge amount of money in order to tackle these disasters and restoration work as well as rebuilding. It has been a stumbling block in Odisha’s economical growth, a press note issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) stated.
Later briefing media about the significant development, Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “Hon’ble Prime Minister along with Hon’ble Chief Minister conducted an arerial survey of Puri district. We (Odisha Government) also made a presentation before him (Prime Minister). The main subject of our presentation was on our preparation for Cyclone Fani and our efforts taken in the first 48 hours. The Hon’ble Prime Minister was apprised of it.”
He informed, “The State Government highlighted on two spheres, particularly electricity and housing before the Central Government so that these two sectors could be made cyclone resistant infrastructure. Because, Odisha is cyclone prone region and every year or every two years, the State is experiencing major cyclonic event on the average.”
He added, “The electricity infrastructure is most affected. Hence, we (Odisha Government) have urged the Central Government for bestowing us with disaster resilient electricity infrastructure in a well-made plan. The Hon’ble Prime Minister also said that he would issue direction for a plan in this regard for the coastal States.”
“Apart for this, we have also requested that the Central Government should allocate funds so that 5 lakh houses could be made disaster resilient. Till now we haven’t made damage assessment report. It will take some time. We have requested for Rs 1000 crores of adhoc assistance from the Government of India,” the Odisha Chief Secretary stated.