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Fani declared ‘Extremely Severe’ natural calamity

Snapped power and water supply yet to be restored in several areas
NEW DELHI: Centre has declared cyclone Fani an ‘extremely severe’ natural calamity with the death toll rising to 35. This allows the Naveen Patnaik government to seek logistic and financial assistance at the national level.

Among the worst hit are Bhubaneswar, Puri and the adjoining areas where thousands of people are still grappling with snapped power supply and acute water shortage.

Last year, Kerala floods were categorised as ‘severe’ after the state government’s demand to declare it a national calamity. Odisha government has submitted an interim memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking an assistance of Rs 17,000 crore and reiterated the demand for according the special category status to Odisha. However, the home ministry on Monday announced assistance of Rs 1,000 crore, along with Rs 341crore from State Disaster Relief Fund.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) headed by cabinet secretary PK Sinha met for the seventh time on Tuesday to review the progress on relief and restoration.

During his interaction with the Odisha chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Sinha stressed on early restoration of power infrastructure. Odisha government reported that following deployment of additional manpower and material from Central PSUs and neighbouring states, power supply has been restored partially in Bhubaneswar.

However a lot of ground is still needed to be covered in Puri. The cyclone has hit a host of key sectors including banking services. There are long queues at ATMs and petrol pumps, according to NDRF officials.

However, officials said banking services have resumed and efforts are being made to operationalise all ATMs. Centre has also decided to extend the registration dates of the JEE Advanced examinations by five more days to May 14 in the state. Students, who are unable to get internet connectivity, can approach IIT Bhubaneswar for registration, a home ministry statement said.

Union home ministry said that the power supply to maintain essential services such as water, health and banking is being provided through diesel generator sets. “It was reported that land line connectivity has been restored in Puri though mobile services remain skeletal.

They added that department of telecommunications is coordinating with the state government to implement a priority plan for restoration of mobile and internet services.

Cellular towers on wheels are also being deployed in Puri. Mobile service providers have allowed free SMS and intra circle roaming in these areas,” according to the MHA statement.
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