Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, April 7 :
The fact that despite best efforts by various individuals and organisations, thousands of people are yet to get compensation for the damages suffered by them when cyclone Phailin hit the coastal parts of Odisha, has rattled the civil society leaders who got together on Sunday in the city to deliberate on a host of issues related to disaster risk reduction and mitigation as well as on the great need to revise the Odisha Relief Code.
Emerging issues and challenges in this regard were taken up by prominent civil society leaders during the day long workshop, jointly organised by Right to Food Campaign, Odisha, OXFAM India and Coast Council, Odisha today.
It was vulnerable communities like the traditional marine fishermen, Chilka fishermen, salt workers, kewda and cashew nut collectors, coconut growers, betel vine farmers and coastal artisans are entitled to get compensations under various government schemes and the Odisha Relief Code for the losses incurred by them as a result of the natural calamity, they are yet to get relief.
Many farmers, farm labourers and share croppers have also been left high and dry.
This, despite the fact that these victims have repeatedly presented their grievances and even staged demonstrations to draw the attention of the administration.
There was unanimity among participants in this interaction that there is a great need to revise the provisions of the Odisha Relief Code and take a relook at several related issues such accountability, timeliness in decision making, vulnerability assessment, implementation of government schemes, government -NGO coordination, grievance redressal, insurance etc are the other grey areas and gaps found during discussions and deliberations on post Phailin Odisha,
Two study reports on post Phailin situatio, presented by Pradip Pradhan and Sudarshan Chhotray, worked as the basis of the discussion on issues and problems faced by various communities across coastal Odisha.
The suggestions collected during the interaction include the active involvement of gram panchayats and communities in both disaster risk reduction and management besides relief distribution and vulnerability assessments, insurance cover for nets and boats of the fishing community, ensuring compensation for farm labourers, share croppers and fishermen without net and boat, fixing accountability in terms of relief, rehabilitation and compensation and bringing transparency in identification of beneficiaries, assessment and relief/compensation distribution and ensuring recognition, protection and payment of compensation for loss sustained by communities pursuing diversified livelihoods .
Arabinda Behera, former Member Board of Revenue , was the the chief speaker in this day-long exercise.
While Sudarshan Chhotray, convener Coast Council gave the welcome address, Pradip Pradhan, convener of the Right to Food Campaign presented the objectives of the workshop. Akshay Biswal, Regional Manager, OXFAM India acted as the moderator.
Among others, B Chittama, President Samudram, Prasanna Behera, president, Odisha Fish Workers Union, Tapan Padhiof the Right to Food Campaign; Suresh Bisoyi, RCDC, Rashmi Mohanty, Unnayan, Binayak Swain, Dibakar Nayak, Ratneswar Sahoo, YSD; Animesh of OXFAM India took an active part in the lively interaction which was attended by many NGO representatives as people from different communities