Sir, this is the flowering season for the paddy fields. The paddies flower at this time. If there is a strong wind, it creates problems for the paddy plant and the flowering will not take place. Thousands of acres of paddy field have been submerged in water.
Then, another difficulty is that we give warning about the wind velocity but we do not give warning about the surge of water in the Chilka or in the Sea.
Surge of water takes place when there is wind velocity of say 100 km. or 150 km. or 200 km. per hour. So, the water level rises. It may rise from five feet to ten feet and it inundates paddy fields. Saline content in paddy fields is very dangerous and injurious for paddy fields for three to four years. Thousands of acres of paddy lands - right from Tangi block of Khurdha district to Chilka block the entire area of Ganjam and Gajapathi district and Sompeta segment of Srikakulam district - have been completely inundated with saline water. It takes time. Immediate steps should have been taken by the State Government itself for pumping out saline water from that area so that the damage could have been minimised. Till yesterday, electricity had not been restored in all those areas. The tangled wires, tangled poles have not been removed.
With much difficulty, on the third day, hon. Ministers Shri Juel Oram and Shri Debendra Pradhan could make an aerial survey of the area because the air strip at Gopallpur was so slushy that they could not land there. Immediately the matter was brought to the notice of the hon. Prime Minister and the hon. Prime Minister made an aerial survey. So, whatever Shri Chakraborty said is not correct factually.
The hon. Prime Minister has decided two things. He has given Rs.250 crore of which Rs.200 crore for running the administration itself in Orissa. The Orissa administration is in the red. There is no financial regularity; there is only irregularity. The Orissa Government has been borrowing money to the tune of about Rs.15,000 crore. They have to pay interest; they have to pay salary for the Govy. servants and they have to pay so many other things also. So, an amount of Rs.400 crore is the monthly requirement of Orissa Government. But they are able to get only Rs.380 crore. So, whenever they get some amount as aid or interim relief or by any other manner possible from the Central Government, they divert it to run the administration. An amount of Rs.25 crore had been given last year from the Calamity Relief Fund for meeting damages due to natural calamities. I am sorry to say that that money had been diverted for routine day-to-day work of the State Government.
There are a number of Ministers in that State and they are taking fat salaries. They have increased salaries of IAS Officers by promoting them, giving them super-time scale or superior administrative cadre posts and so many other things. Lakhs of rupees are being spent in this way.
Sir, please give me some more time. I will come to all other things. This is a matter which should be known to all.
MR. CHAIRMAN : The time allotted for this subject is only two hours.
SHRI ANADICHARAN SAHU : That is true. But I am the most affected victim of the holocaust. So, I may be given some more time.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take the time factor into consideration.
SHRI ANADICHARAN SAHU : The Prime Minister, by a condescending attitude and a benevolent attitude gave Rs.200 crore to run the Government. When I objected to it, he asked, "Unless the Government runs, how can you have aid or relief?" Thus, he gave Rs.50 crore for relief.
SHRI N. JANARDHANA REDDY (NARASARAOPET): Why have you objected?
SHRI ANADICHARAN SAHU : I objected because he need not give money for running the Government.
SHRI N. JANARDHANA REDDY : It is only a Plan advance which he has given.
SHRI ANADICHARAN SAHU : That is true. But that could have been given later. I do not want to argue with you.
What I would like to say is that the Prime Minister has said that diffeerent Departments of Government of India could be sending their officers; for an on the spot assessment and whatever money is required, that would be given. But my honest opinion is that money should not be given direct to the State Government. Now, I request the Central Govt. to invoke Article 360 of the Constitution of India and take away the financial powers for two months.
SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSHI (RAIGANJ): The Presidential Address has mentioned about the policy of the Cabinet, that they would give more powers to the States and more decentralisation. But you are taking just the opposite view.
SHRI ANADICHARAN SAHU : I say that for two months let the financial powers of that State be taken over and all the work relating to aid, relief and all those things may be handled by the Central Government. There is a provision under article 360 of the Constitution. It may or may not be taken up.
Since you are not giving me much time, Sir, now I would come to another most important matter. Onion plants have been destroyed; cabbage has been destroyed, coconuts have been destroyed. Coconuts are available for 50 paise in Sompeta and Gopalpur areas. Chairman, Sir, you must be knowing about it. There was so much damage. Tractors are being used for selling coconuts at 50 paise per piece. That is the difficulty with the people.
What I would suggest is that the Central Government may set up a mechanism to indicate the storm surge on the coastal areas both on east and on west. Storm surges in the sea would be more required than knowing the wind velocity. What do the fishermen who have been living on the shore strip of land do? Even this time I saw that they tie stones and bricks to their waist and lie down till the storm passes.
But the palm fronds, thatches, corrugated sheets and asbestos sheets cannot withstand all these high velosity winds. I would suggest that storm surge mechanism should be thought of immediately by the Government of India and cyclone shelters should be constructed at least at a distance of every five kilometres along the east coast where hurricane is a natural and continuous phenomena for centuries. In my area we are producing fifty thousand tonnes of salt every year. Now, because of this holocaust we would not be able to produce even a single tonne of salt. Since salt is being controlled by the Central Government, I would suggest to the Central Government to think of some measures like salt bay protection mechanism.
Next, I would like to take up water channels. The saline water channel which is coming from the sea has to be devised in such a manner that whenever there is storm, hurricane etc., extra water does not come into the paddy fields and in that way people can be relieved of the burden of drinking saline water. Most important point is that the Relief Code should be changed. The Relief Code was first started nearly one hundred years ago, sometimes in 1860 or 1870. This is hopelessly inadequate. Now in the democratic set-up we must give some sort of a discretion or power to the elected representatives to say as to what should be done and what should not be done because they know what is required in a particular area. I am not saying that one should take away the administrative powers of the State Government or the administrators who are there. If the Relief Code is changed, everybody can pool together his mind and decide in what manner they can do their work. In this particular case, for five days, not even a litre of kerosene was supplied to anyone and the cities were plunged into darkness. I requested the Chief Minister to kindly bring some standby generators from the public sector undertakings and put them in the Notified Area Councils where there is no alternate system of supplying drinking water. For five days drinking water was not supplied to the people in those area. That is why I say it was woefully inadequate. For these things some sort of a mechanism should be thought of by the State Government. If we amend the Relief Code, I think, we would be able to store up as many articles to meet the ravages of nature which are periodically visiting us and creating problems for us.
SHRI K. P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): Sir, with a heavy heart I once again rise to speak on the ravages of natural calamities in West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. ... (Interruptions) Ever since I entered this House for the first time in 1967, in the past 32 years, we have discussed and debated the question of drought, flood and cyclone for nearly 20 times. It was discussed in 1967, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1998. Again we are discussing it this year, that is in 1999. The worst ever cyclone took place in the coast of Orissa in the year 1967 affecting millions of people. In 1977 worst kind of cyclone took place in Andhra Pradesh, when my good friend, Shri Janardhan Reddy, was the Rehabilitation Minister. In 1997-98, Andhra Pradesh Government took some permanent measures. In 1967 we found everything woefully inadequate, as my friend Shri Anadi Charan Sahu graphically and eloquently mentioned.
In fact, I agree with many of his points. No State Government, whether it is Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal or Orissa can tackle a situation like this where the severity is of a rare variety, the intensity and magnitude is beyond comprehension and explanation. It paralyses the entire economy. These are not my words. These are the words of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Ministry of Agriculture has just sent a message to the Government of Orissa. Information at 2100 hours on 27.10.99, that is yesterday, indicates that the severe cyclonic storm in Bay of Bengal has developed into a very severe cyclonic storm. The likelihood of the storm is three to five metres high and above astronomical tide level. There is a Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, NDM Section, Krishi Bhavan, which has given information dated 27th October, that the VSCS - that is the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm - is centred around about 550 Km. Southeast of Paradeep and is moving in the North-Northwestarly direction. Immediately after the severe cyclones of 17th and 18th, which we are discussing, another cyclone is heading towards the coast of Orissa and Bengal and, therefore, it is with all seriousness that we must discuss this problem. The devastation, the destruction which has already taken place in Orissa has damaged, devastated, destroyed everything; life, limb, liberty, housing, shelters as has been said, the standing crops ready for harvesting, roads including National Highways, electrical transmission stations, factories, schools, colleges, workshops and have polluted even the rivers including the wells, that is the drinking water supply. Therefore, we require repair, restoration and reconstruction and a chance to live again.
A State Government like Orissa has been facing these vagaries from 1964-65 when the then Prime Minister Shrimati Indira Gandhi had to visit the famine areas of Kalahandi where starvation awaited the people of Kalahandi. From that day onwards, we have been having visits of Prime Ministers from Shrimati Indira Gandhi up to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Every single Prime Minister has had to visit Orissa either due to flood, drought or cyclone. So, the constant companion of Orissa over the last three-and-a-half decades has been only natural calamities. We have a population of which 22 per cent are tribals, 19 per cent are the Scheduled Castes and the people living below the Poverty Line is 58 per cent. This is not quoted by me but by Prof. Lakadawala of the Planning Commission. That means the non-Scheduled Castes and non-tribals are 17 per cent. The tax mobilisation, the devolution of funds to Orissa for the last 35 years is at the rock bottom. So, we cannot help the State unless Orissa is given some special assistance.
The Government has not yet been able to declare Orissa a Special Status State as is the case of the Schedule VI States of the Northeastern sector, Himachal or even the Uttranchal and Vidharbha. So, the Government must give a special assistance - added and accelerated assistance - to Orissa. This is a State Government which is on the red, as quoted by Shri Sahu. Not a singly penny out of Rs.250 crore which the Prime Minister has announced, has arrived. It is an Advanced Plan Assistance which we should have got in January, 2000 but we are getting in October or November, 1999. So, there is no favour. A number of other Prime Ministers before Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have announced anything between Rs.50 crore and Rs.500 crore but not a single penny has arrived. What the Government has announced is the Advanced Plan Assistance.
Sir, I will just quote from the Ministry of Agriculture again ... (Interruptions). It is an advance payment. You are a former Chief Minister, you know that. Sir, because of the spate of disasters which befell the country, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao set up a National Disaster Management Programme in 1993-94 where all the State Governments were consulted, a number of seminars and discussions were held. Sir, many discussions took place in your own State of Hyderabad. This is from the 1998 Annual Report of the Ministry of Agriculture of this very Government. I quote:
"Central Government response:
Under the existing scheme of financial relief expenditure, the State Governments are required to take necessary rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures from the allocation under Calamity Relief Fund (CRF). A total allocation of Rs.1328.15 crore has been made to the States during 1998-99 under CRF which includes Central share of Rs.996.11 crore and States' share of Rs.332.4 crore. The entire Central share has been released to all the States. Advance release of quarterly instalments of Centre's share of CRF were made to a number of States to speed up the relief work. In addition to CRF, assistance is provided to the States from the National Fund for Calamity Relief for calamities of rare severity. Twenty-two memoranda have so far been received."
So, it is not a favour. Not a single paisa is granted from the Centre as a grant. It is an Advance Plan Assistance to which my friends are referring to as Rs.50 crore, Rs.150 crore and Rs.250 crore... (Interruptions). I did not interrupt you Shri Sahu. You had been in the State Administration. You know it much better than me. I had not been in the State Administration. You were an Inspector-General of Police there and a very good one at that. We are all proud of you. Sir, he is also the President of our Sahitya Samaj. So, he is very eloquent and a literary person... (Interruptions).
Sir, last year apart from these four States of Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh natural calamities caused damage worth 89 billion dollars in 1998 as per The Economic Times, New Delhi. Therefore, the national disaster management has been thought of by the Central Government at that time by Shri Narasimha Rao. Parliament had been debating it for 22 times in as many years. Therefore, this calamity must be termed as a national calamity. I would also like to quote my old friend who is now an MLA from Kerala. He was also a very honoured Member of the Lok Sabha. He is Shri C.K. Chandrappa from the Communist Party of India. He had raised the issue in 1977 immediately after the cyclone. He cited the example of China and Tashkent. Tashkent was devastated by earthquake and millions of people died, but within one year they could reconstruct the place because the Soviet Government then forced all the 17 Republics of Soviet Union to contribute. China even took outside help to tide over the difficulties caused by earthquake. So, I would like to appeal to the Government in this regard. I am happy that there are two-three Ministers present. But usually the Minister of Agriculture used to be present. But today the Finance Minister was also present. This is not only a natural calamity but this is a national calamity.
It requires a national effort. Only this afternoon we were paying tributes to our brave Jawans who have laid down their lives for the security of the country. We have been making a national appeal for their rehabilitation and for their kith and kin. Therefore, national calamity and natural calamity should also call for a national effort and should not be left to the States alone which are deeply impoverished. So, for 32 years Orissa which has been beset with drought, cyclone and flood has really its backbone of the economic structure broken. It is not today or it was not yesterday. It is a continuous collateral damage which has been done to Orissa. Therefore, unless Orissa gets special assistance, it cannot recover.
Today Gopalpur Port is in a shambles. The Gopalpur Port could be rebuilt by assistance from the Centre. I refer to Gopalpur-Talcher railway line. I remember in 1967, as a result of the discussion here, the Paradeep-Cuttack railway line was linked up by funds given by the Centre. Such type of things can be done to tide over the difficulty because relief and rehabilitation is not sufficient. They have to carry on living. There are school children who have lost their books. They have lost their schools and colleges. As has been rightly said, farmers have lost their entire livelihood. Sand-casting, salinity have to be restored. The sand-casting has to be removed. You are an agriculturist yourself Sir, so you will recall this. The Chief Minister of Orissa and the Government of Orissa are manfully trying to tackle the situation. But it is not adequate.
As has been said earlier, the entire national highway, roads, bridges, culverts, all have been washed away. Fishing vessels have been found on top of trees. Government jeeps and other vehicles have been swept away from the coastal to the interior areas. Cyclone has even affected central districts like mine in Dhenkanal and Angul where although no people have died, roads, culverts and bridges have been washed away because of incessant rainfall and floods. So, this is our woe betide. Excessive rainfall, cyclone and drought, all three of them come together every year. The meagre resources of Orissa has been depleted and therefore accelerated and focussed attention on Orissa should be given, like you are giving to the Tribal Development Blocks. A special sub-plan has to be made here. If you cannot give us the special status because of constitutional impediments, at least the Parliament, the Government can have a special assistance programme for Orissa which is a chronically drought affected, chronically flood affected and chronically cyclone affected State along with West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. So, you are also in the same boat as us, Sir. Therefore, a special programme is necessary by the Planning Commission and the Government.