Govt to spend Rs 1208 cr on restoration

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TNN Oct 2, 2011, 08.15AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Even as lakhs of people in flood-ravaged parts of Orissa rummaged through debris to retrieve belongings and rebuild their lives, the state government on Saturday said it would spend Rs 1208 crore within 45 days on restoration and reconstruction work.

In another development, the Opposition Congress, which has claimed that the floods were "manmade", has demanded a special session of the Assembly to discuss the issue. "The recent floods have claimed several lives and affected lakhs of people. It's urgent to hold a debate in the assembly," leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh said.

Meanwhile, chief secretary Bijay Patnaik said the state government would request the Centre to quickly release assistance for the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). In 2011-12, Orissa has an annual budget of Rs 411 crore under SDRF. The Centre is supposed to fund 75 per cent of the amount, while the state would bear the remaining sum.

Of the central share, the state government received its first installment of Rs 154 crore in August. "We would seek early release of the second installment of Rs 154 crore, which is due in December," Patnaik said.

"Early release of funds would help us in expeditiously taking up restoration and reconstruction work," special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra explained. While it is mandatory for the Centre to release funds under SDRF, the state government has sought Rs 3265 crore as grant from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) towards damages suffered in the twin floods in September.

Official sources said the state government has decided to spend Rs two crore in each worst-affected block for construction of a permanent helipad and godown and other restoration work and Rs five lakh each in around 2000 anganwadi centres that were identified as flood-affected, official sources said.

Among the administrative departments, the government plans to spend the maximum of Rs 309 crore through the water resources department to repair and strengthen river embankments within 45 days, sources said.