Odisha seeks change in disaster assistance | Bhubaneswar News

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Bhubaneswar: The state government on Wednesday sought relaxation in disaster assistance norms for restoration of energy infrastructure which was severely affected by Cyclone Fani.
The issue was raised during a meeting between officials of the state government and the central team here at the state secretariat. The 11-member team that visited the state to assess the damages caused by the storm lauded the government’s relief and rescue efforts in the cyclone’s aftermath.
“At present, repair cost for the high-tension (HT) lines (like 220 KV, 132 KV and 33 KV) are not covered either under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) or the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Repair cost for 11 KV and low-tension (LT) lines are covered. Since the damage to power sector is extensive, we have requested the central team to revise the norms,” chief secretary A P Padhi said after the meeting.
Power transmission and distribution infrastructure worth Rs 1200 crore were damaged due to the storm. Over 30 lakh households in the state were left without electricity while power supply is yet to be restored in the worst-affected Puri district.
Existing norms of NDRF and SDRF allow Rs 4,000 for a damaged pole, Rs 50,000 per kilometre of damaged 11KV and LT line and conductor and Rs 1 lakh for replacement of damaged distribution transformer.
“The assistance is meagre considering the huge damage caused to the energy sector in the state. The distribution companies are also financially not very sound that they can fund repair work,” special relief commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said.
The SRC said he has requested the central team to accommodate the provision of non-admissible items like 33 KV infrastructure, lines and grid sub-stations under the disaster fund.
The state government also sought central assistance to develop disaster-resilient power infrastructure in view of cyclone threat to the state.
The government also requested the Centre to revise norms to enhance assistance under poultry sector as existing provisions allow assistance up to Rs 5,000 to poultry farmers (Rs 50×100 birds). The poultry sector faced a loss of around Rs 300 crore as over 40 lakh poultry birds died during the storm.
The state government, during the meeting, submitted a preliminary loss assessment report of Rs 11,942 crore before the central team while the SRC said a final memorandum will be placed before the Centre by the end of the month. The Centre has already released Rs 1340 crore for Odisha in two instalments.
Vivek Bhardwaj, additional secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, who led the team to Odisha said the Centre stands by the state government at this moment of crisis.
“We have travelled to many affected areas. The state government’s efforts in relief operation is praiseworthy. Wherever we went, people said they have received immediate relief in terms of cooked food, rice, cash assistance and polythene,” said Bhardwaj.
He added that the Centre would extend all help to Odisha in terms of rebuilding power infrastructure and providing livelihood opportunities.
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