NEW DELHI: Odisha on Monday sought 17,000 crore in central assistance for rebuilding infrastructure and homes damaged by cyclone Fani, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an additional interim assistance of 1,000 crore.

“The CM said Odisha has set global standards in saving precious lives and needs to set global standards in making Odisha disaster-proof. He sought 10,000 cr for disaster-resilient power infra, and 7,000 cr for converting five lakh kutcha houses to pucca and setting up a disaster-resilient telecom network," the Odisha chief minister’s office tweeted after Modi’s visit.

On Monday, Modi undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and lauded chief minister Naveen Patnaik and other emergency service teams for successfully evacuating more than 1.2 million people in advance. He announced 1,000 crore interim funding to the state, in addition to the 341 crore the centre had released before India’s strongest summer time cyclone in 43 years made landfall on Friday. The cyclone destroyed infrastructure, houses, more than 6,000 educational institutions, mostly schools, and 1,000 health facilities, while laying waste to huge swathes of farmland.

Modi reviewed the relief and restoration measures being undertaken in the cyclone-affected areas. He lauded the state for doing a good job in curbing human casualties and stressed that there was “perfect coordination between the centre and state governments in the past seven-eight days".

“We will work together on man, machinery and money requirements to deal with the situation," Modi said after reviewing the situation along with the governor Ganeshi Lal, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and chief secretary A.P. Padhi.

Modi also announced an amount of 200,000 ex-gratia to each of the families of those killed, and 50,000 to the injured. Odisha has officially declared 34 deaths, though unconfirmed reports put the toll at 45.

The Odisha special relief commissioner in an initial estimate said that more than 10.7 million people in 11 coastal districts have been impacted by the cyclone. About 10,000km of road networks, 4,600 buildings, 980km of saline or river embankments have also been damaged, the state government said.

Around 2 million families are still reeling without power supply even as Odisha expects to restore 25% power supply in the state capital Bhubaneswar by Tuesday. The cyclone has damaged 5,030km of 33kV lines, 38,613km of 11kV lines, 11,077 distribution transformers, and nearly 80,000km of low tension distribution lines, said Odisha energy secretary Hemant Sharma.

The damage and death figures are likely to go up over the next 48 hours once all the coastal districts are assessed by officials. “The green cover of the capital city and Cuttack has gone by almost 50%. Lack of power supply is affecting life," said Bhubaneswar resident Smarajit Nayak.

The Union government said it has asked insurance firms to settle claims faster. It also said rail services have returned to normal but that Puri will have access to trains only by 12 May because of damage to infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu offered to give 15 crore to the state as part of relief package. Patnaik had spoken to the Andhra CM to help provide manpower to rebuild the power infrastructure faster.


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