One month on, still no houses, compensation for Cyclone Titli victims

Paralakhemundi/Berhampur: It has been a month since Cyclone Titli hit the districts of Gajapati and Ganjam, but the residents of these regions are yet to receive houses and compensation as promised by the Odisha Government.

In Gajapati district, the situation seems to have hardly improved. Some of them continue to live in broken houses while some have moved on and started re-constructing their houses on their own. Still people are living in anganwadi centres and school buildings, sources said.

Even the road to the landslide-affected Barghar village in Gangabada panchayat is yet to be cleared completely. The families also continue to struggle for their day-to-day food requirement, sources said.

“We still fear to enter the house as everything has collapsed. The government had promised compensation for building houses, however, we are yet to receive any,” Sujata Badamundi, a cyclone affected resident said.

Anupam Saha, Gajapati district Collector said “The restoration of roads and electricity has been completed in the district. In landslide-affected Barghar, the government has provided RoRs to 107 people and they will start living in those houses after allotment.”

In some villages of Ganjam district, electricity poles and uprooted irrigation points are yet to be restored.

In other areas, farmers are still waiting for the release of compensation amount promised by the government for their damaged crops in the flood triggered by Cyclone Titli. There is a lot of disappointment among the farmers over the delay in the release of compensation.

“We don’t know what to do with the damaged paddy crop as we can neither use it nor throw it away. We have also lost the vegetables planted in the fields. We are waiting for the compensation from the government,” said Sambari Gouda, a flood-affected farmer.

Meanwhile, the district administration is still waiting the completion of survey and preparation of the final list for compensation.

Rajendra Minz, Deputy Collector, Bhanjanagar said “The farmers who have lost their crops or those whose fields are covered with sand will be compensated after the completion of the survey and preparation of list.”

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have targeted the State government over its claims.

OPCC Vice-president Ganeswar Behera said, “All statements of the government have proved to be wrong. The State government should consider taking more action rather than giving vague statements.”

Odisha BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said “The State government has failed in evacuation of people and its zero-casualty claims. So, there is no point in reporting lies on the paper.”

On the other hand, Food & Supplies Minister Surya Narayan Patro said “The relief works in Cyclone Titli-affected areas have been carried out on war-footing. Work is already complete in many areas while it is underway at some other places.”