Patil announces Rs 500 crore assistance for Orissa flood relief

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 23(UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today announced Rs 500 crore assistance to cope with the relief and rehabilitation work in the flood-hit areas of Orissa.

Of the Rs 500 crore, Rs 300 crores will be released in the first instalment and after submission of the progress on the expenditure, the rest would be released.

Mr Patil, who made an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of the state and later held a review meeting on the flood situation, told newspersons that funds would be no constraint and if required more money would be given.

Describing the Orissa flood as a big calamity, the Home Minister said the Centre would do everything that could be done to overcome the difficulties in mitigating the sufferings of the people.

Mr Patil asked the state government to submit a detailed project report as to how much they required and assured that whatever they required would be given.

The Union Minister said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the flood-hit areas of the state but the Prime Minister had gone abroad and would be away for 10 days.

He said since the Home Ministry was looking after the disaster he had come personally to visit the flood-hit areas and assess the situation.

When asked whether he considered the floods in Orissa should be declared as national calamity, Mr Patil said legally there is nothing called national calamity but certainly the floods in Orissa could be described as big calamity and lot of damage had taken place because of the flood.

The Home Minister said he had an aerial view of flood situation in Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts and expressed his condolence for the families who lost their near and dear ones in the flood.

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