Bhubaneswar: The Union Government sanctioned Rs. 921 crore to Odisha from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) towards relief and rehabilitation works in areas affected by the floods that have created havoc in 21 districts of the State during September and October.

The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “It will certainly help in the reconstruction activities in the flood-affected areas which the State Government has already began.”

However, he was critical over the timing of release of the funds, stating, “There is a smell of panchayat elections.”

On the other hand, the Opposition accused the State Government for suppressing the information during the recently concluded Assembly session.

Opposition leader in the State Assembly Bhupinder Singh asked the Chief Minister to see that the funds were not used as BJD election expenditure, while urging the people to remain vigilant.

The State Government had submitted two memoranda seeking a combined assistance of Rs 3,265 crore after 21 districts were devastated by two successive floods during September.

Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra said, the High Level Committee headed by a Union Minister, which met on 15th December 2011, had taken the final decision to release Rs 908.3 crore from NDRF. Besides, the Committee had sanctioned Rs 3.crore to spent on air-dropping food and Rs 10 crore to take up renovation of rural water supply projcets affected by the floods.