Questions raised over Odisha govt’s plan to build landslide shelters

Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties have questioned the Odisha government’s move to build landslide shelters in the line of cyclone shelters to protect lives of tribals residing atop hills and criticized it as a hasty decision.

In the recent Cyclone Titli, 16 people had died in landslides in Gajapati district. Considering the incident, the State Government is mooting the idea of evacuation of tribals residing atop hills. These people will be provided all necessary facilities in these shelters, government sources said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said “We are going to build landslide shelters after mapping those areas to look into the safety of these people.”

The landslide shelters will also be built for tribals residing in Niyamgiri hills and village areas, informed sources.

Commenting on the CM Naveen Patnaik’s statement, Joint Relief Commissioner said, “We have received the Chief Minister’s orders and will soon find out ways to implement it in the right way. We will be giving necessary orders to the concerned departments.”

Meanwhile, Odisha government’s decision to build landslide shelters has flagged concerns among Opposition parties.

“Was the government not aware that the cyclone will be followed by incessant rains and floods? They should review the insecure conditions in which the people stay in these areas and not engage in political drama,” senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan said.

Criticising the government, leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra said “The people in villages do not have adequate drinking water, proper roads or food. If someone thinks that they will come down from the hills and leave everything behind, is actually impractical thought.”

Countering the criticism, BJD spokesperson Sulochana Das said “There are many plain areas where Barghar people can be rehabilitated. The process has already begun and it will be surely done.”