Cyclone-affected residents accuse Odisha govt of distributing worm-infested rice

Puri: Days after extremely severe cyclone Fani made landfall in Puri, affected residents of Penthakata area of the district have accused the State government of distributing worm-infested rice as relief.

Resentment has cropped up among the locals regarding the substandard quality of relief materials. They have alleged that the rice that were distributed as relief were worm-infested and emitting foul smell.

The locals staged protest by holding the rice grains in their hands and raising slogans against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. As part of relief measures, the Chief Minister had distributed relief materials including rice, money and polythene sheets to the people affected by the cyclonic storm.

“Will Naveen Patnaik eat this rice? After getting votes from us, he is giving us poison (referring to worm-infested rice) to eat and after all this he is asking, are u all happy?” said a cyclone-affected resident.

“How can we be happy like this? We are living under open sky with our children for the last four days. The rice is emitting foul smell and has worms,” she added.

On being asked about the matter, Puri District Collector Jyoti Prakash Das, said, “When there is a natural calamity, no matter how much relief is distributed, people remain dissatisfied. The allegations are not new. I have faced similar situation during the Super Cyclone of 1999.”

The collector added that the administration is trying its best to resolve the issues on regular basis.