Odisha govt failed to provide relief to people: Cong

Bhubaneswar: Ridiculing the Odisha government's claim that its preparedness and evacuation of people from coastal regions saved many lives during cyclone Phailin, opposition Congress today alleged the administration utterly failed to provide relief materials to the affected.

Urging Governor S C Jamir to direct the state government to form all-party committees at state and district levels to oversee relief operations in cyclone and flood affected areas, a delegation of Congress claimed people had themselves fled before the government took any step.

"The state government's claim about evacuation is exaggerated and publicity-oriented. More than half of the evacuees had moved to safer places on their own because of the horrifying experience of the 1999 Super Cyclone and round-the-clock media coverage," Congress said in a memorandum to the Governor.

PCC President Jaydev Jena demanded waiver of agricultural loans taken by affected farmers and reimbursement of the total expenditure incurred on raising crops by those who have not taken loans.

The opposition party also demanded free electricity to affected farmers for five years and soft bank loans of up to Rs 50,000 for rebuilding houses. It also sought to corner the ruling party for distributing relief materials on political considerations.