.........BERHAMPUR: Phailin-hit beneficiaries of five coastal blocks of Chhatrapur, Chikiti, Rangeilunda, Ganjam and Khallikote in Ganjam district of the World Bank-aided Odisha Disaster Recovery Project (ODRP) are abandoning their new pucca houses which have been flooded after incessant rains.
Sources said funds were released for construction of 16,707 pucca houses under ODRP to be provided to people affected by cyclone Phailin in 2013. As per provisions, these colonies should have water and electricity supply besides community centres and road connectivity.
The district received its share of around `445 crore under the project and after completion of the houses, the administration strictly asked the beneficiaries to shift to their allotted houses. However, many beneficiaries are trying to return to their old houses as the new ones have been inundated after the deluge last week. The glaring examples are ODRP colonies in New Indrakhi and Panapalli villages. The two colonies in Chikiti block have 64 and 62 ODRP houses, but lack connecting roads and safe drinking water supply. Lal Mohan Rana, a beneficiary of Panapali, alleged that during construction of the houses, the district administration assured them provision of community hall, school, Anganwadi centre, safe drinking water besides road and power supply. But no such facilities have been provided, he claimed.
Levelling similar allegations, other beneficiaries Raju Sethy, Jyoti Sahu, Kuna Rana and Udaya Sethi said their repeated appeals for provision of these basic facilities have fallen on deaf ears. Sources said the colonies with pucca houses were set up in low lying areas. As a result, roads leading to these areas have been submerged after the rains. Ironically, these sites were selected by district officials and approved by Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) teams before construction of the houses.
Chikiti block office sources said the houses were constructed as per the direction of higher officials. However, steps are being taken to clear the stagnant water and convince the beneficiaries not to abandon their houses, the sources added.