The state government has urged the Central team to revise the norms for restoration
of energy infrastructure damaged in cyclone Fani
Bhubaneswar: The state government Wednesday urged the visiting Central team to relax norms of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to help restoration of energy infrastructure devastated by cyclone Fani.
The issue was raised at a meeting of state government officials led by Chief Secretary AP Padhi and the Central team headed by additional secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Vivek Bharadwaj at the Secretariat here.
The review meeting was held after the 11-member Central team paid a field visit to the Fani-affected areas of Odisha in the past three days to assess the damage caused by the calamity. The team left for New Delhi Wednesday afternoon.
“We have brought to the notice of the Central team the need to revise the existing norms. Because, the HT line (220 Kv, 132 Kv and 133 Kv) in electricity sector is neither being covered by NDRF nor SDRF. Only 11 Kv and LT lines are being covered under the schemes. Accordingly, we have sought revision of some other norms,” Padhi told reporters after the meeting.
The state urged the Centre to relax the norms to accommodate the provisions of non-admissible items like 33 KV infrastructure, lines, grid sub-stations, civil works and labour charge components under the SDRF and NDRF.
As the calamity has severely disrupted the power infrastructure, a huge amount of fund is required to restore it. The Energy Department’s preliminary estimations have put the cyclone losses at `12,000 crore.
But as per the norms of assistance, `4,000 is permissible for damaged utility poles, `50,000 per km for damage of 11 KV and LT lines and conductor and `1 lakh for replacement of damaged distribution transformers from SDRF/ NDRF which is quite meagre considering the collosal destruction caused to distribution network for restoring power supply, said a senior official of the office of Special Relief Commissioner (SRC).
The state government has also requested the Central team to revise the assistance norms to provide relief to poultry birds.
As per the guidelines, assistance up to `5000 is available to small and marginal farmers for loss of poultry birds in an approved disaster. Thus, commercial poultry farm owners are not entitled to any assistance out of SDRF/ NDRF.
It was estimated that loss of `234 crore has been caused in the poultry sector as more than 40 lakh birds have perished in the cyclone.
Besides, the state government has submitted a preliminary damage estimation report mentioning loss to the tune of `11,942 crore to the Central team. Vivek Bharadwaj said, “There has been massive destruction to houses, hotels and livelihood means of the affected people. Puri has been severely hit in the cyclone.”
“We have submitted a tentative estimate of losses the Central team. This amount may go up as the officials will undertake door-to-door survey to assess actual losses by the cyclone. The government will prepare a comprehensive report on the damage after making the detailed survey,” SRC Bishnupada Sethi said.
Noting that the Centre has been assisting the cyclone-ravaged state and it will continue to do so in restoration and rehabilitation works, Bharadwaj said there is a need to strengthen the MGNREGA scheme to provide livelihood means to the affected people. He said there has been a substantial loss to betel vines and coconut plantations in Puri district.
PAT FOR STATE GOVT
“In view of the gravity of devastation, the Odisha government’s action in providing relief and other assistance to the affected people is praiseworthy,” he said, adding people have been provided with relief immediately after the cyclone. “The affected people have been given rice, cash and tarpaulin sheets,” he said.
The 11-member Central team visited some of the worst-affected areas in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts, besides the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) region, during its visit.