Bhubaneswar, Oct 14 (PTI) The Opposition BJP and the Congress on Sunday accused the BJD government in Odisha of failing to make proper arrangements to deal with Cyclone Titli and the subsequent floods in the state. Also Read - US House of Representatives Passes Landmark Bill Legalising Marijuana in Federal Level

Union Minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan in a statement said the manner in which the state government responded to the calamity showed its “poor preparedness” in tackling it. Also Read - US Announces Reward of up to USD 5 Million For Information About 26/11 Mastermind

The death toll due to the storm mounted to 24 on Sunday after two more bodies were pulled out of rubble brought in by a landslide in Gajapati district caused by incessant rains due to Cyclone Titli. Also Read - Trump Skips G20 Summit on Pandemic Preparedness, Later Spotted at His Golf Course: Report

While 13 bodies were found on Saturday night, two more bodies were pulled out of the rubble Sunday morning.

People in many parts of the state were badly hit by the Cyclone and floods, and “irresponsible” statements by the ruling party leaders and officials had been causing more pain for them, Pradhan said, adding for the calamity-hit people, statements by some ministers and officers had simply rubbed “salt to the wound”.

A senior state minister had made an “irresponsible statement” regarding deaths in the landslide in Gajapati district, in which 15 people were reportedly killed, the Union minister said.

Pradhan said the Odisha minister’s comment that there was much less casualties in Odisha due to Cyclone Titli compared to the death of 170 people in a similar calamity in the US is “highly unfortunate”.

Claiming that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s slogan of “zero casualty” remained only in pen and paper, he said it was unfortunate that Patnaik was “busy in a photo shoot” for Men’s Hockey World Cup when the people of the state were in distress.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Srikant Jena also hit out at the state government accusing it of having failed to properly discharge its duty during the natural disaster.

Jena said the state government “miserably failed” to make adequate preparations to deal with the situation, despite forecast by the meteorological department.

State BJP general secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra alleged that a large number of people died in the landslide in Gajapati district as the state government failed to inform people about the calamity in advance.

It also failed to shift people from vulnerable areas to safe places, he claimed.

Dismissing the opposition charge, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the political parties were trying to derive political mileage out of a tragedy.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.