Pradeep Pattanayak

The incidents of wall collapse claiming lives emerging from different parts of the flood affected districts have laid bare the failure of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) dispensation in providing ‘pucca’ houses to all.  Not letting the opportunity go by, the Opposition parties have started cornering the Naveen Patnaik government. 

In its election manifesto, the BJD had promised to convert all ‘kutcha’ houses into ‘pucca’ houses. But, the party is far from making good of its promise. Even today, lakhs of people are still living in kutcha houses, facing so many challenges, alleged the Opposition parties.
As per the information shared by the Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Kumar Amat in the House recently, 12,24,725 families are still living in ‘kutcha’ houses. Of them, a total of 21,239 families are in the list to get a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin). 

BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan alleged, “For a ‘pucca’ house, people have been waiting since 2019. They are living in pathetic condition during cyclones and flood. Not a single work order has been issued to them. Surprisingly, the ruling party doesn’t have the answer to the question why work order has not been given.”

“It is the common people who are the worst sufferers in the tussle between the State and the Central governments over awas yojana,” said Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati. 

In its response to the allegations made by the saffron party and the grand old party, the BJD said the time is not appropriate to do politics over the issue. 

“Villages are marooned. We are currently busy at rehabilitating the flood-affected people. It is an inopportune time to do politics. As of now, our top priority is to ensure how relief should reach to one and all and people stuck in flood should be rescued,” said BJD MP Munna Khan. 

In many areas, with water standing for a week now, people fear that at any moment the walls may collapse on them. In Baliguda, hundreds of people on Saturday thronged to the tehsil office to get polythene sheets to pitch a tent as their houses have been damaged in the flood. 

In Biramaharajpur of Sonepur district, a Zilla Parishad member Laba Kumar was seen prostrating himself at the feet of tehsildar, pleading for polythene sheet to be provided to flood-affected people.