Ruling-BJD MLA exposes flaw in Cyclone Fani house damage survey

Bhubaneswar/Puri: The members of Opposition parties and ruling- BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy criticized the State government in the Odisha Assembly on Monday over Cyclone Fani relief and restoration.

While Congress and BJP members alleged that the Naveen Patnaik-led government has failed to provide adequate relief to the cyclone Fani victims, Maharathy said there was some error in identification of cyclone victims in Puri district. The Pipili MLA said there was 60-70 per cent error in the house-damage reports, though Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi backed the government over the issue.

“Around 60 days have passed after the cyclone Fani made its land fall in Odisha, but no government officials visited our village post cyclone Fani. We are living under the polythene sheets as our houses are damaged by the cyclone,” said Damayanti Tarei, a resident of Jungle Sahi in Krushnaprasad block of Puri district.

We were given one polythene sheet each and we are living under it, added another resident, Pradeep Pradhan.

As per the house damage survey report, 28,000 residents in Nimapara block lost their houses during the cyclone. Interestingly, in Pipilia village only seven are mentioned in the survey report, while 37 families in the village have lost their houses.
“There are irregularities in the survey report. Those who have lost their houses are not in the list,” alleged Sridhar Biswal, a resident of Pipilia village.

Some residents of the Cyclone-hit Puri district are still taking shelters in schools. Power supply to many villages are yet to be restored, informed sources. Education in the district is also affected as the restoration of school buildings in several areas are yet to be completed. Moreover, the cashew and coconut farmers are yet to get government help.

Maharathy criticised the government and said the persons who own pucca houses are also included in the house damage survey report. Maharathy further said that he and other MLAs from the district alerted the Chief Minister in this regard.
“I also realise that there are some error in the house damage survey list. Those who have pucca houses are also added in the list,” Said Pipili MLA, Pradeep Maharathy.

On the other hand BJP alleged that those have been named in the survey report are only the ones with links with the ruling party. “The cyclone-affected persons were provided with 50 kg rice only, the government should realize that it’s impossible to survive with only 50kg of rice. The government has meted out step-motherly treatment to some cyclone Fani hit victims and has made the survey report with political motive,” said Bishnu Sethy, the deputy leader of opposition.

The Congress also criticized the Naveen Patnaik-led government. Jatani MLA Sura Rourtray demanded “Provide relief to those who have lost their houses, irrespective of their case and community.” He further asked the government to construct roads and plant trees in the cyclone Fani-hit areas.

On the other hand, Revenue Minister said the government has garnered praise for tackling the cyclone. He further said that re-survey will be conducted in the areas where lapses have been alleged.

“The government is doing its job and reviewing the survey reports properly. Enquiry will be done if errors will be found in the reports,” said Marndi.