By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, May 16, 2019: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday urged union home minister Rajnath Singh to relax the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) norms to restore the heavily damaged power infrastructure in 14 districts.

Odisha faces a mammoth task of bringing back normalcy to coastal Odisha in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani.

Patnaik, in a letter to Singh, said the norms of the NDRF for repair of damaged power sector allow financial assistance only for damaged conductors, poles and transformers and up to the level of 11 KV.

“Even the scale of admissible items is highly inadequate. Besides the large-scale damage to 11KV lines, distribution transformers and LT network admissible for repair and restoration under NDRF norms, extensive damage has also been caused to 220 KV / 132 KV towers and transmission lines; grid substations and power transformers; 33 KV poles, lines and primary substations,” Patnaik said in the letter to Singh.

Naveen also informed the Union home minister that a preliminary report on the extent of damage to the power sector in Odisha has estimated the loss at about Rs 1,160 crore.

The unusual summer Cyclone Fani, which was categorised as an “extremely severe cyclone”, stuckd through Odisha’s coastal districts on May 3 morning and made a landfall in Puri district with wind speeds over 200 kmph.

The state government having shifted 11 lakh people from areas close to the sea a day before the cyclone’s landfall, but 64 people lost their lives. The massive evacuation measures by the state government have been widely hailed.

Patnaik told Singh in the letter that power infrastructure in Puri district and parts of other districts have been extensively damaged by the cyclone. “Transmission and distribution is an integrated network consisting of extra high tension, high tension and low tension,” wrote Patnaik while reminding the Union minister of the inadequacy of the NDRF norms for restoration cost of damaged power sector infrastructure in wake of the natural disasters.

“It is requested that the NDRF norms may be relaxed to provide for actual cost of restoration of the entire power infrastructure damaged by the extremely severe Cyclonic Storm Fani,” wrote the CM.

Meanwhile, the Central government has extended the deadlines for various Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns for taxpayers registered in cyclone-hit Odisha.

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