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Modi Praises Naveen Patnaik's 'Excellent' Planning After Aerial Survey of Cyclone Fani Damage

The praise for Naveen Patnaik, the BJD chief and a former NDA ally, comes bang in the middle of the election season.


Updated:May 6, 2019, 2:12 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s handling of the Cyclone Fani after conducting an aerial survey to assess the loss and destruction caused by the storm.

"Naveen babu has done a good job," the Prime Minister said with the Odisha chief minister standing next to him.

Modi also announced an aid of Rs 1,000 crore on top of the Rs 381 crore the Centre had announced earlier. The praise for Naveen Patnaik, the BJD chief and a former NDA ally, comes bang in the middle of the election season and after a bitter campaign in which both sides have attacked each other repeatedly.

It’s also polar opposite to the reaction reserved for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who PMO officials claimed had turned down a review meeting with Modi. The claim has been denied by the West Bengal government.

"In the middle of a busy elections schedule, everyone concerned prioritized this (Cyclone)... I must congratulate the state government, the authorities and those involved in evacuations. The work done is commendable. There has been an excellent coordination between the Centre and the state," said the PM after the aerial survey on which he was accompanied by Patnaik.

He said Patnaik’s planning was “excellent”. In a video, PM Modi could be seen discussing details of damage with the Odisha CM. After the aerial survey, PM Modi also held a review meet with the top bureaucrats in the state.

Odisha’s handling of the Cyclone has also been praised in international quarters, with the United Nations’ disaster agency UNISDR highlighting the "zero-casualty cyclone preparedness policy" of the state.

Around 12 lakh people from Odisha were evacuated to nearly 5,000 temporary shelters hours before the cyclone made a landfall in the state on Friday. Over 1,500 buses and thousands of government staff, along with volunteers, managed to complete the exercise late on Thursday night.

At least 34 people were killed during Cyclone 'Fani', which caused widespread destruction and left hundreds grappling with water shortage and power cut.

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