Patnaik announces package for cyclone-affected

Naveen Patnaik announced special financial packages for farmers, fishermen and students affected by Cyclone Phailin.

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday announced special financial packages for farmers, fishermen and students affected by Cyclone Phailin and subsequent floods that hit over ten million people in the state.

The government has decided to provide affected farmers a subsidy of Rs.4,500 per hectare for rain-fed areas, Rs.9,000 in assured irrigated areas and Rs.12,000 for all types of perennial crops restricted to sown areas, the office of the chief minister said in a statement.

Perennial crops include mango, cashew, coconut, kewra, betel vine.

The minimum assistance to any affected farmer will not be less than Rs.2,000, the statement said.

The government will provide the subsidy to cultivators who have suffered a 50 percent or more crop loss.

The statement said crop loans during the current Rabi season will be made available to the affected farmers at five percent interest which will be reduced to two percent in case of timely repayment.

"They will not be treated as defaulters for non-repayment of the existing loan", the statement said.

Short term crop loans advanced during Kharif 2013 will be converted to medium term loans repayable over three years in affected areas.

Four lakh pulses` kits and high quality vegetable seeds will be distributed to half a million farmers at 90 percent subsidy in the affected areas.

Besides, 100 percent remission on cess on land revenue and compulsory basic water rate will be given to farmers in areas where the crop loss is 50 percent or more.

Patnaik has also announced assistance for small and marginal farmers in animal husbandry and sericulture sectors and those engaged in fishery, handlooms and handicrafts.

The government has also decided to exempt school examination fees up to high school level in government schools in the affected areas.

Besides, two pairs of school uniforms and textbooks shall be provided to children up to high school level, while funds will be provided for repair and restoration of school and college buildings.

Cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal made landfall Oct 12 night near Gopalpur in the state`s Ganjam district and left behind a trail of destruction in several districts of the state, bringing heavy rain and floods.

Although the death toll in the cyclone and floods was limited to 44, about 1.2 crore people in 17 of the state`s 30 districts have been affected by the calamity, the state government said.

Preliminary estimates by the state government of the damage from the cyclone and subsequent floods is pegged at about Rs.4,242 crore.