Patil makes aerial survey of flood hit orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 23 (UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil arrived here on a day's visit to make an aerial survey of the areas in Orissa battered by the flood in Mahanadi system and assess the damage.

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 he is scheduled to review the flood situation at a high level meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and leave for New Delhi in the evening.

The Chief Minister while demanding that the flood be declared as National Calamity, has sought an assistance of Rs 1500 crores for relief and rehabilitation measures from the National Calamity Contingency Relief Fund.

He said though the enormity of the flood was less compared to that of Bihar, the Prime Minister visited Bihar and declared the flood as national calamity while announcing an assistance package of Rs.1000 crore.

Mr Patnaik regretted that despite high flood in the state and request for assistance neither the Prime Minister nor any central minister chose to visit the state or announced any assistance to the state.

Over four million people have been affected in the flood which had played havoc in coastal Orissa submerging thousands of villages and rendered 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 2500 crore had been damaged in the flood which has gripped as many as 18 of the total 30 districts in the state.

UNI BD-DP KK DB1805

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