With the recovery of three more bodies on Monday, the death toll in cyclone Titli and the subsequent flood in Odisha rose to 27, even as relief and restoration activities have been stepped up, officials said.
The three bodies were found in the worst hit Raigada block of Gajapati district, the officials said.
“In the landslide incident in Raigada block, 18 people have died. Postmortem of bodies have been conducted,” said chief secretary A P Padhi, who visited worst-hit Gajapati district to review the situation.
On his return from Gajapati, Padhi attended a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik where it was decided to start distribution of 50 kg of rice, two-and-half litre of kerosene oil and Rs 1,000 cash to each affected family in the district.
Claiming that the situation has improved in many parts of the state, including in Gajapati and Ganjam districts, Padhi said the food distribution work will begin from Tuesday.
Polythene sheets are being given to those families whose houses have been damaged in the cyclone and flood. Power connection to all the block headquarters of Gajapati would be restored by Tuesday evening.
The chief secretary said that there has been extensive damage to the paddy and other crops in the Gajapati, Ganjam and Rayagada districts. He also claimed that road communication has been restored in many parts of the affected districts.
He said the calamities have hit 16 of the 30 districts of the state. The affected districts were: Gajapati, Ganjam, Rayagada, Puri, Kandhamal, Kendrapada, Keonjhar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Khorda, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Angul.
Though a total of 3,60,353 people were evacuated and sheltered in 1,614 relief centres in view of the cyclone and subsequent flood, most of them have returned to their houses by Monday evening and 8,889 people were left in 41 relief centres, the officials said.
Meanwhile, opposition political parties, including BJP, Congress and CPI(M) claimed that the state government has been hiding the actual casualty figure.
“Till yesterday, the Naveen Patnaik-government was not ready to accept any deaths when 20 post-mortems had already been done in Gajapati district alone. The government is lying and to hide that, it is lying even more. We have names of 25 deceased so far and are collecting other names, once we get all the names, we will reveal it in front of media,” said Odisha BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “Our state party has information regarding more deaths than the state government’s figure.”
CPI(M) state secretary Ali Kishore Patnaik claimed that at least 40 people have perished in the calamities.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president, Niranjan Patnaik said: “By claiming zero casualties at a time when 45 people have already died and people are dying and have no food to eat, Odisha government has betrayed the people of Odisha. It is unfortunate.” PTI