A nine-member central team reached Odisha on Sunday to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Fani that ravaged the state's coastal districts on May 3 and left 64 dead. The inter-ministerial team is being led by Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Vivek Bharadwaj.
Before beginning the on-the-spot assessment in the affected areas on Monday, the team members will be briefed by Special Relief Commissioner BP Sethi. The team will be split into two groups. They will visit Puri and Khurda districts, the worst affected by the cyclone, on May 13 and 14.
They will visit some of the affected areas in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area on May 15 before holding a meeting with senior state government officials, including Chief Secretary A P Padhi.
After completing the visit, the team will submit its report to the Centre, an official said. About 14 lakh trees, including thousands of coconut and mango trees, were uprooted by cyclone Fani.
The cyclone has also destroyed agricultural land in the the coastal areas. According to the state government's preliminary assessment, more than 30 per cent crop has been damaged in Odisha due the cyclone.
Earlier, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had demanded special category status from Centre for his disaster-prone state, saying it faces natural calamities almost every year.
In his first interview since Cyclone Fani that ravaged the coastal districts killing 41 people, he said special category status is the need of the hour due to the massive loss to infrastructure which may stall growth of the state.
"In fact, this is one of the our main demands before the Union government. Odisha faces natural calamities almost every year. The assistance we get from the Centre is mostly for temporary restoration of infrastructure. We have to spend a lot from state's own funds to work for the long-term," Mr Patnaik added.