BJD moves president over delay in cyclone assistance

    By IANS,

    Bhubaneswar : The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha Wednesday sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee over delay in getting financial assistance from the central government for the Cyclone Phailin-ravaged state.

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    A delegation of the party, comprising several ministers and legislators, met state Governor S.C. Jamir at Raj Bhavan in state capital Bhubaneswar, and submitted a memorandum to the president through him.

    “While the state government, on its part, has done its best to protect the life and properties of the people from this natural calamity, the central government has not provided any assistance, though duty-bound in our federal system,” the party stated in the memorandum.

    Soon after Cyclone Phailin struck the state Oct 12, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requested the prime minister to sanction at least Rs.1,000 crore advance, out of the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). Not a rupee has yet been sanctioned, the party alleged.

    The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is forgetting that Odisha is a state within the union of India. The government of India is constitutionally duty-bound to come to the rescue of the people, the BJD delegation said.

    Unless the central assistance is immediately sanctioned, the state will not be able to take up reconstruction and restoration of the damage caused by the cyclone, and subsequent floods, the party said.

    In its memorandum, the party requested the president to intervene and direct the central government to immediately sanction the required amount.

    The severe tropical Cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal, which made landfall Oct 12 night near Gopalpur in state’s Ganjam district, killed at least 50 and left behind a trail of destruction in several districts of Odisha, bringing heavy rain and causing floods.

    The party said the cyclone and floods have affected more than two crore people in the state. It said the state government has been requesting the central government to sanction about Rs.5,800 crore, but has not received any response.