Zee Media Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Ravaged with Cyclone Phailin and the floods aftermath, Odisha government has written to the central government seeking immediate release of Rs 1,523 crore for relief and rehabilitation work.
Reports suggest that Ganjam district has been severely hit and has been lurking in the darkness for the last few five days with no signs of early restoration of electricity supply.
The death toll following the high-velocity cyclone and floods thereafter in five districts of the state has risen to 36.
"In order to take up relief and restoration work of an immediate nature, I request you to release an advance of Rs 1,000 crore over and above the corpus of Rs 523 crore available in the State Disaster Response Fund for 2013-14," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Thousands of people still continue to remain stranded in Odisha after massive floods triggered by Cyclone Phailin swamped their homes.
Heavy rain brought on by Cyclone Phailin that hit the state coast Saturday night triggered floods in Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Bhadrak districts. More than a million people were affected when water from major rivers and their tributaries submerged low-lying areas and entered habitations, officials said.
The Army, the National Disaster Response Force, the Odisha Disaster Response Force and state police were continuing relief operations in flooded areas.
The government claimed flood water was receding, and said food and relief was being provided to the needy. Witnesses, however, disputed some of the government`s claims.
Meanwhile, an updated report from the government put the number of affected persons in the twin calamities at 1.21 crore, while the number of disaster-hit villages across 17 districts jumped to 17,674.
A total of 647 villages remained marooned in Odisha even though the flood situation in the five northern districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar slightly improved yesterday.
The severe tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal struck Saturday night near Gopalpur in Ganjam district, and has left a trail of destruction in the coastal districts of the state.
Although damage to properties was estimated at several crore rupees, the loss of lives was minimal compared to the 1999 super cyclone that left over 10,000 dead.
The state energy department said loss to the power sector alone, according preliminary assessment, is about Rs.900 crore.