The Odisha government on Saturday said that the death toll due to cyclone Titli in the state rose to 62, with more bodies being found even as officials were verifying death reports of 10 others who are reported missing.
Chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi who reviewed the relief and rehabilitation works in affected districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada said that of the 62 deaths, 43 were from Gajapati district, the worst-affected among the three.
“While the casualties include three fishermen from Andhra Pradesh, the death reports of 10 more from Gajapati are still being verified,” said Padhi.
One more body was recovered from a drain near Bhuyanpada village in Mohana block of Gajapati district.
Padhi said 57,000 houses and 2.7 lakh hectares of land have been damaged in the cyclone and its aftermath. An amount of Rs 11 crore cash as relief and ex-gratia has been distributed in Gajapati district.
“We have submitted a fund requirement of Rs 2,770 crore basing on the preliminary assessment to the state government and are waiting for a final report. Our focus is now on restoration of roads, relief and rehabilitation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan who had visited the affected Gajapati district alleged that the Odisha government is behaving like a ‘sahukar’ (money lender) and is trying to shrug off its responsibility by announcing an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased.
“It is unfortunate the way a minister stated that the government has increased the compensation amount from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Is this our sensitivity towards the plight of people killed in such calamity?” asked Pradhan, adding that eight days after the cyclone, electricity was yet to be restored in Gajapati.