Sitting Biju Janata Dal MLA and candidate in the Patkura Assembly seat Bed Prakash Agarwalla died at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. He had been undergoing medical treatment for the past few days.The 82-year-old former Minister is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. Patkura is one of the seven Assembly segments under the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat in coastal Odisha from where former BJD MP Baijayant Panda is seeking re-election as the BJP nominee.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the death of Agarwalla, who was elected to the Assembly six times — four times from Kendrapara and twice from Patkura, in 2009 and 2014.Describing the late leader as an able parliamentarian and administrator, Mr. Patnaik conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family. “His death is a great loss for all of us. His organisational ability and dedication for the welfare of general public will be remembered forever. He was also a close associate of Biju Babu,” he said.The Patkura Assembly election is likely to be countermanded in view of Agarwalla’s death. The Election Commission is likely to issue a fresh polling schedule. Among others, former Minister and BJP nominee Bijoy Mohapatra is in the fray in Patkura. He returned to the party recently. Patkura was scheduled to go to the polls along with six Lok Sabha and 42 Assembly seats on April 29.
The loss of crops due to floods in the State has been put at ₹125 crore, according to preliminary assessment by the government. Even as the exact extent of the damage will be known only after flood waters have fully receded, senior officials said around 27,468 hectare of agriculture land has been completely destroyed. This could even cross one lakh hectares when the panchnama is complete, senior officials said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday that the total length of road damaged is 484 km, while 2,615 transformers were damaged partially or fully. The destruction to agriculture land will cross over 1.5 lakh hectares, state Minister of Employment Guarantee and Horticulture of Maharashtra, Jaydutt Kshirsagar said on Saturday. Chief Secretary of the state Ajoy Mehta too has confirmed that crops across one lakh hectares could be affected. The State horticulture department has said they are drawing up the estimates with the help of satellite images, and the panchnama has been started with the help of Department of Revenue and Agriculture. “We expect major damage of agriculture crop to spread across 11 districts, while the centre of the destruction is Kolhapur where 30% of this damaged crop is located,” said an official of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture.Mr. Fadnavis said the government will not only compensate damaged crops but also help in removing silt from the farms, and provide assistance of ₹13,000 per hectare to the farmers. The work will be assisted by many organisations like Art of Living, Siddhivinayak temple, and Pandharpur temple, who have promised to come forward to help, he said.