Odisha to examine house damage assessment report in cyclone

With members cutting across party lines raising question on the accuracy of the house damage assessment in the districts hit by Cyclone Fani, Odisha government Monday said it will examine the allegations of irregularities.

In the assessment report, the names of actual cyclone victims were missing in the list of beneficiaries, the MLAs alleged.

"We will examine the house damage assessment report given by the officials basing on which assistance is being given to the cyclone affected people," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi said in the assembly while replying to a debate.

The minister's statement came after the members from ruling BJD and opposition Congress and BJP drew the attention of the government on the "irregularities" in the house damage assessment done by the revenue department officials.

"I have been an MLA for seven times. I found that the house damage assessment has not been done properly. While names of the people having pucca houses are in the list of beneficiaries, the real cyclone victim is left out," said BJD member and former minister Pradeep Maharathy.

Maharathy was supported by Congress member Suresh Routray and BJP's Bishnu Sethi.

Though the members lauded the state government's pre-cyclone management for which human casualty was confined at 64, many others criticised the post-cyclone activities.

"People in the worst-affected Puri district are yet to get electricity though two months have passed after the cyclone hit the state. There has been massive damage to livelihood of the people and they should be immediately helped," said Congress member Suresh Routray.

Minister Marndi said as many as 5,56,761 houses were damaged after the cyclone Fani hit Puri on May 3 at a wind speed of above 200 kmph.

As the damage has been extensive, the minister said, the state government has sought Rs 5227.68 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

He said the state government has utlised all its resources for the relief and restoration of the cyclone hit areas.