BHUBANESWAR: The Centre on Tuesday approved additional assistance of Rs 3338.22 crore to Odisha from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for large scale damage caused by cyclone Fani to infrastructure and crop on May 3.
The meeting of High-Level Committee (HLC) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs presided by Union Home Minister Amit Shah approved additional assistance of Rs 4432.10 crore to three States including Rs 1029.39 crore to Karnataka for drought and Rs 64.49 crore to Himachal Pradesh for avalanches, hailstorms and landslides. This additional assistance is over and above the funds released by the Centre to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) already placed at the disposal of States.
During 2018-19, the Centre had released Rs 9,658 crore to the States and during 2019-20, the Centre has released Rs 6,104 crore to 24 States from SDRF till date.At the onset of cyclone Fani, Rs 340.87 crore was released in advance on April 29, 2019 from SDRF in the case of Odisha. Besides, Rs 1000 crore was released in advance as per the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Odisha on May 6, 2019. In addition, an ex gratia of Rs two lakh was provided to next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured in the cyclone from Prime Minister’s Relief Fund (PMRF).
The State Government has sought Rs 17,000 crore from the Centre for the relief and restoration work in the Fani affected areas. ‘The Cyclone Fani - Damage, Loss and Needs Assessment (DLNA)’ report prepared by the World Bank has estimated the damages due to Fani at Rs 24,176 crore.
The HLC also reviewed the existing practice of deputing an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) after the receipt of a memorandum from the State in the wake of any severe calamity. It was decided that the IMCT will henceforth be constituted immediately after any natural calamity of severe nature, which will visit the affected areas in the State to have a first-hand assessment of damages caused and relief work carried out by the State administration. IMCT will again visit the State after submission of the memorandum for a detailed assessment of the damages and relief operations conducted for making final recommendations for allocation of additional funds. At present IMCT visits the affected State only once after the receipt of the memorandum.
During Cyclone Fani, the Centre had deployed 71 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 19 columns of Army, nine Engineering Task Force (ETF), 27 aircraft/helicopters and 16 ships of armed forces for relief and rescue operations. During this massive evacuation drive, more than 15.5 lakh people were shifted.
Official sources said the Centre had provided all necessary assistance in the restoration of power supply and communication in affected districts, including necessary stores, gensets, steel poles and skilled manpower.