Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a thank you letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for lending a helping hand to his state after it was hit by cyclone Fani. A week ago, Modi showered praise on Patnaik for efficiently tackling the situation in the state before and after cyclone Fani. This has led to speculations over a post-election alliance between BJP and Odisha’s ruling party.

A report quoted Patnaik’s letter to Modi as saying, “Your good self had personally witnessed the damage in the cyclone-affected areas during your visit to the state on May 6.” Notably, the state’s Chief Minister had directed the officials to start the assessment of houses damaged in cyclone Fani. Patnaik also directed that the house damage assessment be completed within one week from May 15.

After conducting an aerial survey of areas affected by the cyclone, PM Modi had said, “The Naveen Patnaik-led government has done a commendable job in evacuating the coastal areas to avoid loss of lives.”

According to sources in the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), 15,26,877 houses have been damaged in the state in different calamities in the last 12 years. However, the damage caused by cyclone Fani was the most severe as it left 5,08,467 houses damaged. Promising full assistance for house construction, Patnaik said, “I assure that all out efforts will be put so that not a single eligible person will be left out.”

He further said that all families whose houses are completely or substantially damaged due to extremely severe cyclone will be sanctioned pucca houses. “In all the severely affected blocks, senior officers will be appointed to supervise the assessment process,” he said adding work order distribution to the beneficiaries will begin from June 1.

The cyclone had made landfall in Puri with a wind speed of up to 240 kmph on May 3 and has left at least 241 people injured. The death toll due to cyclone Fani rose to 64 with 21 fresh deaths confirmed on Sunday, nine days after the ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm devastated coastal Odisha.

(With agency inputs)