Odisha's disaster-related loss Rs 3,400 cr per year

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Odisha's disaster-related loss Rs 3,400 cr per year

Wednesday, 22 May 2019 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

On an average, Rs 3,400 crore of financial loss is incurred every year due to natural calamities, which is not only colossus but also resulting in weakening the economy of Odisha to a large extent.

Latest estimate of financial losses to the State due to various natural calamities during last 25 years reveals a sad state of affairs.

Severe natural calamities consecutively faced by the State have resulted in financial loss of more than Rs 85,000 crore during a period of 25 years. The magnitude of the problem can be imagined as flood, cyclone, drought and cyclonic rains have wreaked havoc in the State and every year Odisha has faced one or the other natural calamity.

During last 25 years, Odisha has experienced 17 floods, six super storms and 11 droughts. This presents a bleak financial scenario as the State is incurring huge losses.

Total financial losses incurred due to natural calamities from 1994-95 to 2019-20 is Rs 85,313 crore. During 2019-20 till 18 May, the State has incurred a loss of Rs 13,167. 26 crore due to extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, which hit the State on May 3.

The State has spent more than Rs 12,000 crore on relief management for the natural calamities devastated people during last 24 years and it requires Rs 6,767.56 crore for relief and response due to Fani. So it entails an expenditure of Rs 18767.56 crore.

According to estimates, Odisha faced financial loss of Rs 6,243.96 crore due to Super Cyclone in 1999 and it spent Rs 827.64 crore for relief operations in 1999-2000.

The State is incurring huge expenditure on repair and restoration work out of its own resources from General Budget provision, which could have been utilized for other developmental purposes.

The State is also funding fisaster mitigation activities from own resources as funds are not available from other sources like Central grants, officials admit.

Officials admit that from 2007-08 to 2018-19, the State has incurred expenditure of Rs 6,000 crore for flood control out of own resources and loan from NABARD.

In the meantime, the State Government has also planned to build disaster resilient power infrastructure. For this an investment of Rs 10,000 crore is required and the State Government has urged the Union Government to come to its rescue.

In absence of Union Government support, the State will have to utilise its own  resources and borrow funds from both domestic and external sources for reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

As the natural calamities have damaged the State Economy and weakened its financial system, it needs special support.

Accordingly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded Special Category Status for Odisha, which will help out this ‘Disaster Zone’ in a big way.

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