Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 12:
For nearly a year and half now, the Odisha government has not stopped crowing over the deftness with which it supposedly handled Cyclone Phailin in October, 2012, flaunting the endorsement received from a UN body as clinching proof of its claim.
But the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) clearly has an altogether different view of how the government ‘handled; the disaster. Its report, presented in the Odisha Assembly by Finance minister Pradip Amat today, has found a host of administrative lapses on the part of the state government during and after Cyclone Phailin.
The report said the state government had not prepared its Disaster Management Plan till 2013 while the working mechanism was not properly put in place due to shortage of staff.
Out of 10 VHF (Very High Frequency) sets deployed in the cyclone-hit districts, six were not in working condition while the HAM Radios in Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur districts were out of order, the reports said.
It further said though there were adequate stocks of polythene sheets, they were not provided to the affected families.
Apart from this, the state government had also failed to utilise the funds towards the repair of 1503 damaged roads till 2014.
The CAG also said there was inordinate delay in the restoration of power in Ganjam districts due to shortage of manpower and electric equipment.
Referring to the post-Phailin assistance, the report said the farmers of the cyclone-hit districts had not received crop damage assistance six months after the cyclone as the state government had not estimated the compensation amount till April, 2014.
As a result, compensation towards crop loss in 5.56 lakh hectares is pending till date, it noted.
“Of the Rs 238.71 crore cyclone assistance received by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF), Rs 168.76 crore is lying unspent,” the report pointed out.