Families in severely affected villages to get rations and cash assistance
Cyclone Phailin that hit Odisha on Saturday did not claim many lives, but nonetheless crippled farmers across the state by damaging about 0.6 million hectares (ha) of agricultural land, of which 0.5 million hectares had ripe paddy.
Final assessment of damage is still on. The severe cyclone flattened 200,000 homes and inundated 14,515 villages with water. While loss of property is estimated to be worth Rs 80.53 crore, damage to power infrastructure is worth more than Rs 1,000 crore.
“We are still assessing the damage. Our 10 km long channel is inaccessible because of five to six metre high tides. We have sent a group of 20 engineers to survey the accessible areas on foot,” Paradip Port Trust chairperson, Sudhanshu Shekhara Mishra, said.
According to official figures, Phailin effected eight million people in 13 districts—Puri, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Gajapati, Balasore, Bhadrak, Khurda, Cuttack, Keonjhar and Balasore. Ganjam was the worst-affected.
“Of the total cultivable area of 3.6 million ha, 0.6 million has been damaged. Most of it was under kharif. Another 0.5 million ha was paddy alone,” said R S Gopalan, director of agriculture, Odisha government. He, however, ruled out food scarcity in the state in the coming months. Odisha produces 9.3 million tonnes of rice every season of which only 4.5 million tonne is consumed. “We are a food surplus state. We still have 1.7 million tones, which we are selling gradually to Food Corporation of India,” he said. The crop loss is estimated to be worth Rs 2,300 crore.
Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, has announced assistance for the affected families. Families in “very severely affected” villages would be given 50 kg of rice and Rs 400 in cash each in the next 14 days. The families in these villages will get food assistance for seven days. They will receive 25 kg of rice and Rs 200 per family for lentils. Besides, all fishers who were barred from venturing into the sea will be provided 10 kg rice. Farmers who have lost their standing crops will be provided assistance after assessment by the district authorities.
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