The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD Government, which has been ruling the state for over 15 years now, has always talked about development and growth across Odisha, including the tribal districts. But, Cyclone Huhhud came up as an eye-opener for all. Despite being less effective in Odisha, the cyclone caused extensive damage in tribal districts such as Koraput, Gajapati, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur.
The wind speed was 180-195 km per hour in Visakhapatnam and other Coastal Andhra districts. Still, only 6,638 houses were damaged. In Odisha, the wind speed was just 60-80 km per hour, but it damaged 80,000 houses, as the government claims. That clearly shows how developed Andhra Pradesh is as compared to Odisha. Majority of poor people and tribals in Odisha are still living in thatched houses, while Andhra Pradesh has been able to built better houses for its people.
Yes, you can offer Re 1 rice and many other benefits to the poor tribals, but if you don’t give them the option of living in well constructed houses, your development claims will remain hollow talks only. The damaged cannot be undone. But, it is expected that the Odisha Government will take steps on a war footing to ensure pucca houses to the people living in hilly areas, as they are more vulnerable to natural disasters.
In its poll manifesto, the BJD had promised pucca houses to all people in Odisha. Hopefully, the real work towards achieving that goal, will begin at the earliest and the target would be completed without any delay.