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A 7-member team of GanatantrikAdhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha visited many villages of Puri district and a slum in Puri town on 20th June and 26th June to know more about the situation of local villagers after 55 days of cyclone Fani.The Fani cyclone had hit Odisha coast on 3rd May 2019. The team also met officials of RWSS, Electricity Dept. and Deputy Collector of Puri and also visited the government hospitals at Puri.

As per the government report near about 1.6 crore of people of 20,367 villages of 14 districts got affected due to this cyclone Fani. 1.88 lakh hectares of agricultural land got damaged.

The team observed that;

The local villagers had left own houses before Fani and had taken shelter in various schools and shelter homes. But due to lack of space at these places pregnant women, old people and children faced lot of difficulties.

It has been two months of Fani cyclone. But people are still living inside the polythene sheets. Very few of them have repaired their homes. The villagers need atleast twenty thousand rupees for repairing a room. The government has not yet started giving compensation. Most of them are either staying inside polythene sheets or living on school verandah or both.

All village ponds and other water bodies of the area have been contaminated due to falling of big trees inside. The villagers are still using that contaminated water for daily needs (ofcourse not for drinking) because there is no other alternative. This has caused diarrhea in the area. Nearly three times more than usual rate of patients in these months have been admitted in the hospitals. The government has handed over purification of these water bodies to Ashakarmis, village level health worker. It shows negligence of the Sanitation department of the government of Odisha.

Electric connectivity has not been restored yet. The department people are just digging holes and fixing electric poles without cement and stones. We asked to the department people CESU. The electricity department has been fully privatized. Now progress of work depends on 19 agencies who have taken tender for restoring electricity. They agreed that these should be permanently fixed otherwise would cause accident.

                         Our team visited hamlets of Scheduled Caste people. All of them are landless. Nobody has homestead land. Even today they are depending tube-well of the schools or of other villages for drinking water. This also is not becoming easy for them. The problem of untouchability is still prevailing in these villages which should be condemned largely.

This is a matter of grave concern that none of these dalit people, the team visited, have Scheduled Caste certificate. They are landless people and that is the reason why they have been denied of getting such certificate. Literacy percentage is very low.

Saline water has already affected agricultural fields of Brahmagiri block and Gopa Block areas. The government has no such provision for reclamation. Besides, large number of coconut and betel nut farmers have been affected more.

We demand ;

The government should enhance amount of compensation for partly damaged houses upto rupees forty thousand. There should be transparency while preparing list of damaged houses. Farmers whose land have been affected due sea water and farmers depending on coconut and betel nuts should be compensated well. More cyclone shelter homes should be constructed. Villagers of these areas should be given 200 days work under MNREGA. Those electric poles which have already been installed should be done again with proper foundation.

The government is more serious at pre stage of cyclone. Similar preparation is not there in post-cyclonic situation. This is the reason why people of the area are still suffering.However, few villages collectively worked to save life of rest of the villagers, they did cleaning work at post cyclonic situation and started common kitchen system from village funds. Gaindala village of Chaitanapanchayat in Gop block is an example. Few NGOs and individuals have come forward and have provided food, utensils, mosquito nets and other things to few villages.

GanatantrikAdhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha

Deba Ranjan

General Secretary


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