Central team yet to assess Orissa flood: Harichandan

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 13 (UNI) Orissa Minister for Rural Development Biswa Bhushan Harichandan today criticised the Union government for not sending a Central team to the state to assess the damage caused due to the recent flood in Mahanadi river system.

''It is absolutely unfortunate that the Central team did not visit the state after the devastating flood that gripped major districts despite our request,'' Mr Harichandan said and alleged step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards the state.

The minister alleged that not a single rupee of the Rs 500 crore Central assistance announced by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil during his recent visit to the state had reached Orissa so far.

More than 70 people were killed and around four million people affected while crop in over 5,000 hectares of land damaged in the flood that affected 19 of the 30 districts of the state.

After reviewing the Relief and Rehabilitation measures taken by the Rural Development Department, the Minister said Rs 420.41 crore was required to repair the roads, culverts, buildings and drinking water supply system damaged in the flood.

Mr Harichandan said out of the 1,338 breaches, as many as 1,210 were closed and the Chief Engineer Rural Works was asked to close the rest by the end of October and repair the damaged roads by the end of December.

He said 1,303 roads covering a length of 4,499 km, including 508 PMGSY roads with a length of 859 km, had been damaged in the flood.

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