(Eds: Updating with revenue minister;s quote, other details) Bhubaneswar, Dec 19 (PTI) The Odisha government Wednesday said the damage caused to standing crops and stocked paddy due to heavy rain triggered by Cyclone ‘Phethai’ is being assessed to provide assistance to affected farmers. Also Read - Met Issues Thunderstorm Warning For Five Districts of Odisha

The government stepped up the exercise to ascertain the extent of damage to the farm sector as the situation limped back to normal in the southern and western regions of Odisha, which were battered by downpour due to the cyclone. Also Read - SUMMARY OF OBSERVATIONS RECORDED AT 0830 HRS IST:

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Heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity squally winds had pounded several parts of south and west Odisha on Monday and Tuesday.

Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty said district collectors have been directed to submit reports about the damage and details about farmers affected by the calamity in their respective areas.

Based on their reports, the extent of damage caused by the cyclone would be assessed to provide financial assistance to the affected farmers, he said.

The minister said assistance would be extended to the affected farmers from the State Disaster Response Fund and also in accordance with the prescribed norms to those covered by insurance.

Though no major destruction was inflicted on Odisha, the cyclonic storm caused major damage to standing crops and harvested paddy stocked in the southern and western regions of the state, officials said.

Besides paddy, other crops like cotton, pulses and vegetables were also damaged due to rainfall, they said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said there were reports about damage to paddy crops in some districts and the process of collecting details is underway in order to make a thorough assessment.

However, there was no major damage to stocks in procurement areas as precautionary measures had been taken to cover the paddy, he said.

The SRC said Balangir district had recorded the highest rainfall of 92.4 mm, followed by 77.9 mm in Jharsuguda and 74.4 mm in Sambalpur on Monday and Tuesday under the impact of the cyclone.

While 100 blocks received more than 50 mm of rainfall, the average rainfall in the state during the period was recorded at 37.5 mm, he said.

Heeding the state government’s advice, farmers in many parts of Odisha had taken precautionary measures to protect their crops from rain.

However, farmers in several areas still suffered considerable losses as the rain damaged standing paddy and cotton crops, along with harvested paddy stocks stashed in open fields.

In view of the cyclonic storm as many as 11,600 people were evacuated in Gajapati district, an official said.

With the weather turning dry gradually, the state will witness a fall in temperature by 2 to 3 degree celsius from Thursday, said H R Biswas, director of the met centre here.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.