Bhubaneswar, Sep 23 (UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil arrived here today on a day's visit to make an aerial survey and assess the damage in Orissa following the high floods in the Mahanadi river system.
Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandrasekhar Sahu and National Disaster Mitigation Authority Vice-Chairman N C Viz accompanied Mr Patil.
Immediately after his arrival, Mr Patil left for an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Leader of Opposition J B Pattnaik.
On his return, Mr Patil is scheduled to review the flood situation at a high level meeting with the Chief Minister and return to New Delhi this evening.
The Chief Minister, while demanding that the Orissa flood be declared as national disaster, sought an assistance of Rs 1,500 crore for relief and rehabilitation measures from the National Calamity Contingency Relief Fund.
Mr Patnaik, while admitting that the enormity of the flood in Orissa was less compared to Bihar, said the Prime Minister had visited Bihar and declared the flood as national calamity while announcing an assistance package of Rs 1,000 crore.
He, however, regretted that despite high flood in the state and request for assistance, neither the Prime Minister nor any Central minister visited the state or allotted any assistance.
Over four million people have been affected in the flood which played havoc in coastal Orissa submerging thousands of villages and rendering lakhs of people marooned and homeless.
The flood had so far claimed 29 lives and damaged thousands of houses.
According to a preliminary assessment, property worth Rs 2,500 crore had been damaged in the flood which brought as many as 18 of the total 30 districts in the state under its grip.
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