A group of civil society organisations on Tuesday expressed concerns over the challenges faced by the people of Odisha where cyclone 'Fani' devastated the infrastructure and threw life into disarray earlier this month.
Manas Ranjan Mishra, a member of the ‘Civil Society Responds to Fani (CSRF)', said the affected people, who don't have rations cards, haven't received any aid, despite government's commitment to offer everyone Rs 2,000 and 50 kg rice.
"These include a large number of poor people, who are left out due to errors in the selection process and additional errors by government officials," he said in a press conference.
Mishra added that large families suffered the most since the assistance they received didn't commensurate with the size of their families.
He requested the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government provide relief on the basis of household size and household list as per latest government records.
Mishra also urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to announce a moratorium on loan repayment after it was discovered that bank agents were trying to recover loans from cyclone-affected people.
"In Brahmania village of Brahma Giri, people have been forced to repay up to Rs 1,700 and even more from the 2000-rupee relief they had received from the government," he said.
Mishra appreciated OSAFI, a state level association of more than 20 microfinance institutions, which postponed the collection of EMIs in affected areas for one month.
He said the restoration work and clearance of debris had yet to start, and there had been no employment for the people in the month of May.
Mishra further maintained that the government had so far failed to procure paddy and other rabi crops from the affected areas and distress sale had already begun.
The group has also urged the government to provide at least 3 tarpaulin sheets and mosquito nets, adding the single polythene sheet provided to each household was not adequate to shelter them in sun and rain.
Sneha Mishra, Secretary Aaina and a member of CSRF, said as all public places with proper roofs (such as community halls, mandaps, temples etc.) have been occupied by men, while women have to spend the daytime under the scorching sun or under makeshift shelters.
She further added that Dalit and lower caste community members have been facing discrimination in access to cyclone shelters, relief, water sources and cooked food in several areas.