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Cyclone Yaas: PM Modi Announces Rs 1,000 Crore Aid for Odisha, Bengal, Jharkhand

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While worst-affected Odisha would get Rs 500 crore immediately, another Rs 500 crore would be given to West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand which were battered by Cyclone Yaas and said that a team of Union ministers will visit the three affected states to assess the damage, officials said. The announcement was made after Modi undertook an aerial survey of Odisha’s Bhadrak and Balasore districts which bore the brunt of the cyclone, and Purba Medinipur district in West Bengal on the east coast.

While worst affected Odisha would get Rs 500 crore immediately, another Rs 500 crore would be given to West Bengal and Jharkhand, which would be released on the basis of the damage, the officials said. The central government will also deploy an inter- ministerial team to visit the Yaas affected states to assess the extent of damage, and further assistance will be given to them based on the report of the team.

Modi also announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to each of the seriously injured in the cyclone. While three people including a woman were killed during the cyclone in Odisha, another person died in West Bengal.

While Odisha Chief Minister demanded long term solutions for problems of repeated cyclones and provision of disaster-resilient power systems, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee sought a Rs 20,000-crore package for redevelopment of the worst-affected areas. Cyclone Yaas, packing winds gusting to 145 kmph whiplashed parts of India’s eastern coast on Wednesday, leaving behind a trail of damaged homes and flooded farmland, forcing more than 21 lakh people to be evacuated to safe shelters in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.

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The prime minister expressed solidarity with all those who suffered due to the cyclone and expressed deep sorrow to the families who have lost their kin in the calamity. Modi said, “We have to continue the focus towards more scientific management of disasters. As the frequency and impact of cyclonic systems are increasing in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, communication systems, mitigation efforts and preparedness have to undergo a major change." Cyclone Yaas came from the Bay of Bengal to hit India’s east coast days after Cyclone Tauktae, which originated in the Arabian Sea, barrelled through the western states.

The prime minister also spoke about the importance of building trust among people for better cooperation in relief efforts. He appreciated the preparedness and disaster management activities by the Odisha government which has resulted in minimal loss of lives.

The PM said that disaster mitigation has been given emphasis by the Finance Commission too by provisioning funds to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Modi at the Kalaikunda airbase and submitted a report to him on the damages caused by the cyclone in the state, and sought a Rs 20,000 crore package for redevelopment of the worst-affected areas.

Banerjee, however, skipped the review meeting with Modi in which Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Debasree Chowdhury, and BJP MLA and leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari were present. In the review meeting, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked the PM for his immediate visit to the cyclone hit state and stressed long term solutions to the problem as Odisha is frequently hit by major calamities like cyclones.

Taking to Twitter, Patnaik said, As the country is at the peak of #COVID19 pandemic, we have not sought any immediate financial assistance to burden the Central Govt and would like to manage it through our own resources to tide over the crisis. Patnaik sought both a disaster resilient power infrastructure and a permanent solution to protect the coastal region from storm surges which accompany cyclones, the states Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said.

The chief minister categorically said that both the Centre and the state should join hands to work for the protection from the danger of storm surge, which this time saw ingress of saline water to over 120 villages in the coastal districts, Jena said.

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