Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced financial assistance and relief packages to families affected by Cyclone Fani. All families covered under the National Food Security Act in Puri and Khurda administrative division, who have been severely affected, will get 50 kg of rice, Rs 2,000 and polythene sheets, Patnaik said, according to the Odisha Sun Times.
In all affected districts, people will receive one month of additional pension and house building assistance, the chief minister said. Houses which have been completely damaged will be constructed under housing schemes, Patnaik said according to ANI.
“Loss of agricultural, horticultural crops, animal resources and fisheries will be assessed and compensated accordingly,” he said. After the relief and restoration work is complete, trees will be planted “in mission mode”, the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said over 30 lakh electricity consumers in Odisha have been affected by the cyclone. He said power will be restored to around 10 lakh consumers by Monday.
“It will take at least five to seven days to restore normalcy in power supply in Bhubaneswar,” Energy Secretary Hemanta Sharma said. “However, it may take a bit longer for Puri where the devastation to power structures is maximum.”
The Odisha government has also initiated measures to restore the drinking water supply in Bhubaneswar. Power supply to pumping stations at Palasuni and Bhuasuni was snapped after the cyclone hit the state. These two stations provide 40% of Bhubaneswar’s drinking water needs. Experts have been called in from Kolkata to assist in the efforts to restore water supply.
Telecom firms in the state have been carrying out major restoration work, PTI reported. Public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s telephone exchange at Puri has been made operational. Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio have made 932 base stations for mobile communication operational, the agency said citing sources. In West Bengal, work on 206 base stations is pending.
Odisha Chief Secretary AP Padhi said the toll due to cyclone has now risen to 29. Twenty-one of those deaths were registered in Puri alone, PTI reported. On Saturday, the cyclone, which made landfall on Friday, weakened into a deep depression before entering Bangladesh. The storm uprooted trees and heavy rainfall lashed in parts of West Bengal on Saturday morning, but damage was minimal.
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, scheduled for Sunday, was postponed in Odisha due to the cyclone. The examination selects candidates to undergraduate and postgraduate medical colleges and dental courses in the country.
On Saturday, Patnaik had claimed at 12 lakh affected people had been evacuated within 24 hours. He said it was the first cyclone to hit Odisha in 43 years. “Because of this rarity, tracking and prediction were challenging,” Patnaik said. “Till 24 hours of landfall of the cyclone one was not sure about the trajectory it was going to take. However, we prepared ourselves to face all the possible eventualities. This led to one of the biggest human evacuations in history.”