Seeking a relaxation in disaster assistance norms, the Odisha government, on Wednesday, estimated a tentative loss of ₹12,000 crore due to cyclone Fani, that killed approximately 64 people and damaged more than 5 lakh dwelling units in the state’s coastal districts.

The state government, which has launched a massive restoration work in the cyclone affected areas, in a preliminary report to a visiting inter-ministerial team, said that the initial assessment has estimated the overall loss at approximately ₹12,000 crore.

While the loss to public properties was to the tune of ₹5,175 crore, expenditure towards relief and response stands at ₹6,767.56 crore, the report said.

Tentative loss

“We have submitted a tentative loss figure to the central team. This amount may increase as the officials will undertake door-to-door survey to access the damage caused by the cyclone. The government will prepare a full report on the loss after the completion of the detailed survey,” said B P Sethi, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC).

In its preliminary report, the state government has estimated the highest loss in the power sector at ₹1,160 crore, while the loss in the Panchayati Raj and the drinking water departments stand at ₹587 crore.

“The loss shown in the preliminary report is purely tentative. It will go up as we get a detailed report,” Chief Secretary, A P Padhi, said after a meeting with the central team, which wrapped up its three-day visit to the cyclone-hit areas.

Power crisis

Padhi said, “We have urged the central team to consider revising the norms of the NDRF and the SDRF so that the loss in the power sector can be covered.”

“While the NDRF and SDRF norms include assistance for loss due to the damage of 220 KV, 132 KV, 33 KV, 11 KV and low tension power supply, there was no provision for losses in the high tension (HT) power supply,” said Padhi.

As many as 75 towers have been uprooted by the high velocity winds in Puri district.

Rehabilitation efforts

Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, who is heading the team, said, “There has been massive destruction to houses, hotels and means of livelihood of the affected people. Puri has been severely hit in the cyclone.”

Noting that the central government has been assisting the cyclone-ravaged state and will continue to do so in restoration and rehabilitation works, Bharadwaj said that there is a need to further strengthen the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in order to provide occupation to the affected people.

“Keeping in view the gravity of the devastation, the Odisha government’s action in providing relief and other assistance to the affected people is praiseworthy,” said Bharadwaj , adding that people have been provided with relief immediately after the cyclone.

“The people have been given rice, cash and tarpaulin sheets,” he said.

The 11-member central team visited some of the worst-affected areas in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts, besides the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) region.