Fani: PM Modi does aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas in Odisha

Modi on board helicopter doing aerial survey.

Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today conducted an aerial survey to assess the loss and destruction caused by Cyclone Fani in Odisha.

Modi was received by Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

Modi, who has three rallies scheduled later in the day in West Bengal and Jharkhand, immediately proceeded towards his chopper to carry out the survey of the worst-hit Puri district and other affected areas.

At least 34 people were killed during Cyclone ‘Fani’, which barrelled through coastal Odisha Friday, causing widespread destruction and leaving hundreds grappling with water shortage and power cut.

The Prime Minister had Sunday tweeted, “Will be in Odisha tomorrow morning, where I will review the situation due to Cyclone Fani and hold meetings with top officials. The Centre is committed to provide all possible assistance in relief and rehabilitation measures under way.”

The PM also spoke to the Chief Minister Saturday and discussed the situation in the aftermath of Fani, assuring continuous support from the Centre.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, had Sunday reviewed relief measures in the affected areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

NO TO MODI

As per government sources, the West Bengal government has refused to host a review meeting with Modi to weigh in the damage caused by the cyclone.

The PMO had written to the State about the review meeting earlier as he wanted to inspect the State like he did in Odisha. The Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led government refused to heed to the request, and added that the authorities were busy with Lok Sabha polls duty.

A spat broke out between the State and Centre over Cyclone Fani and Mamata alleged that she was not called to discuss the rescue and rehabilitation operations. However, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik was invited by the PM.

Naveen Patnaik on board helicopter with Modi.

Modi stated that his phone calls to Mamata were unanswered Saturday.

“Two attempts were made by the Prime Minister’s staff to connect him with Banerjee over the phone. On both the occasions they were told that the call would be returned. On one occasion they were told that the CM is on tour,” an official said.

Following Modi’s discussion with the Governor, TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee called the development as “attack on the federal structure”.

“By calling the Governor, he ( Modi) has acted as leader of BJP and not as a Prime Minister. How can he deny the mandate of our people? Mamata Banerjee is the elected Chief Minister of Bengal. This is unfortunate,” he said.

Extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani ravaged parts of Odisha Friday, especially the coastal areas. The storm killed 34 people in the State. Bengal, on the other hand, experienced heavy rain but no loss of life was reported.

Agency