I also request you to start 'Food for Work' programme. In the 1978 floods we have seen that the 'Food for Work' programme did a magic. The poor people want food immediately. If they get food for the work done, then the reconstruction work as well as their existence will both be preserved and developed. So, on these things, I request that 'Food for Work' programme should be introduced in a massive way.
Coming to the housing sector, some talk is going on regarding disaster-proof houses. We have to plan with proper technology as to how we can have such disaster-proof houses and buildings where we can face such calamities if they occur in future. HUDCO has intervened. But we need much more because the damage is so big and huge that with Rs. 190 crore you cannot do much. It is just a pittance in comparison to the damage.
Coming to the education, I am afraid education in Orissa will be put back in the coming ten years. They will go backward because the colleges and schools are all closed. There is no education. All institutions are closed and no examination will be there in the coming months. What will happen to those hundreds and lakhs of students? You have to immediately plan something so that education is started and the college and school buildings can immediately be opened even by constructing temporary sheds. Classes can be started with temporary sheds. Then, in a long-term programme, you can rebuild all those in a better way.
I have already told about the hospitals. The hospitals and health centres should also be immediately rebuilt. That is also another area of importance. There should be massive plantation.
These are the areas where the Central Government and the State Government should put their heads together and should mobilise the N.G.Os. and other forces. We can also appeal to foreign countries for their help. In Russia, Turkey and many other countries, whenever there are national calamities, foreign assistance poured in. But I do not know what is happening in our country. I am told that our Ministry of External Affairs is standing in the way. Some people and some countries are ready to help. But our M.E.A. is standing in the way. I do not know whether this is correct or not. If it is correct then it is a wrong thing and they should clarify. We request the Government to mobilise funds. As submitted earlier, the hon. Prime Minister should appeal to the whole world that whoever can come forward to rebuild Orissa from this wreck is welcome. It can be rebuilt as a new Orissa and the scars can be reversed into a blessing. I request the Government to take care of the problem in that fashion.
With these few words I conclude.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Hon. Members, as there is no one from the panel of Chairmen in the House now, if the House agrees I will call the senior Member Shri Basudeb Acharia to preside over the House.
SEVERAL HON. MEMBERS: Yes.
16.15 hrs (Shri Basu Deb Acharia in the Chair)
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU (TENALI): Mr. Chairman Sir, it is most unfortunate that the State of Orissa was hit by two consequent cyclones, the first one on 17th and 18th October, 1999 followed, immediately after, by second one on 29th October, 1999. I think, this is the most unprecedented and unexpected havoc that has played in the State of Orissa where the devastation was so sizeable that it is beyond the imagination of anybody. In the past one hundred years, people say that, this type of havoc has never been there, particularly in Orissa. The torrential rains followed by high velocity winds at a speed of about 300 kilometres per hour and the unprecedented tidal waves, put together at one particular time have played such a big havoc in the State that has caused a lot of suffering to human beings, certain loss to crops and thereby a loss to the ecological balance in the State.
The statistics have been placed before the House that more than 1.6 crore population, 20,000 villages and 12 districts have suffered the fury of this havoc. The crops in more than 21.5 lakh hectares of land have also suffered and the houses lost were more than 22 lakh. The human loss was placed a bit higher than 10,000 and cattle loss at about 1.6 crore. This amount of loss is not a loss to one particular State, it is really a loss to the whole country.
As such, we must congratulate the Union Government for having risen to the occasion immediately, declared it as a national calamity and extended its helping hand in several ways. Though the State Government had also taken immediate steps to provide relief, somehow there was a feeling - I am not entering into any area of dispute - that the required amount of help had not been rendered by the officials and the machinery of the State Government in times of need, and the State Government could not rise to the occasion. However, one particular point of dispute that is going on between the State Government and the Union Government that the help that has been rendered by the Union Government could not properly be utilised by the State Government and could not be properly handed over to the victims, is not a correct step in the right direction at this point of time. I am not going into the merits and demerits of the issue, but this type of message would not have gone to the victims that there is a help that is being rendered by the Union Government but it is not reaching the victims or the people. This is not a good message. We, as Indians first, will have to look at the sufferings of all the people unanimously and as a team of the entire country.
Sir, it is gratifying to note that a Task Force has been immediately constituted by the Government of India; the Union Government also placed its Armed Forces at the disposal of the Orissa Government, and `Operation Sahayata' has been organised by the Ministry of Defence in that State. They have taken several steps, but I do not want to go into the details. They have placed about 35 Army Columns and about 5,000 Army personnel at the disposal of the State for taking up these operations.
Coming to the Central assistance, this particular point really pinches everybody. I do not know the actual situation. When the Prime Minister visited that State, he has extended the total relief to the extent of Rs. 950 crore: Rs. 450 crore comes as Advance Plan Assistance, and Rs. 500 crore as Calamity Relief Fund. This shows that the Government of India could rise to the occasion. However, unfortunately, the teams sent by many public sector undertakings have been turned away by the State Government functionaries. An example has been quoted that the Collector of Puri turned away a medical team sent by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation. When the Additional Secretary, Department of Coal and Mines spoke to the Collector of Puri, he confirmed that he does not require any medical teams or the setting up of any community kitchens. When somebody sends certain amount of help to the State, be it the Union Government or the sister State Governments, it could not reach the victims, and this is one particular issue which is causing a lot of agony in the minds of several people. This ought not have happened.
Besides, I must certainly go on record on the help that has been rendered by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, and our Chief Minister Shri Chandrababu Naidu has risen to the occasion. On the very same day, that is, on 30th, he has sent the teams, and on 31st, our teams have reached Berhampore. He has risen to the occasion and sent our former Relief Commissioner, Shri Acharya, to Berhampore, to be immediately followed by the Director General of Police. It is really appreciable that our officer was the first man to reach Berhampore, in spite of several odds.
SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO (JAGATSINGHPUR): They maintained the law and order also.
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU (TENALI): On reaching Berhampore, the officers of the State Government of Andhra Pradesh have set up a Control Room to coordinate the activities of different departments, and they were the first people to provide relief in Orissa. When a telephone No. 201755 was installed, the Chief Minister was regularly contacting him and giving the directions for providing relief. The Relief Commissioner also visited Bhubaneshwar on 1st November and met the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and also the State Relief Commissioner.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Prof. Venkateshwarlu, you should not read from your text.
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, I am not reading; I am only giving some statistical data that is there. So, it is our Relief Commissioner who has coordinated with the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and also the Relief Commissioner of the Orissa State and planned the total relief measures that have been taken up.
Sir, similarly the Director General of Police also immediately rushed to Orissa and the police department had deployed about 92 personnel in Paradeep; about 30 personnel in Kalinga; about 90 personnel in Cuttack and again another additional 93 personnel were deployed in Cuttack. The people from the Department of Communication, some of them hailing from Orissa, were also sent there. In all about 460 police personnel had been deployed in different districts of Orissa to take up the relief measures.
A lot of relief material had been sent to Orissa. The employees of the Roads and Buildings Department of Andhra Pradesh had gone there and sent their socketing machines etc. to clear the roads which involved an expenditure of Rs. 43 lakh. 268 people of the R&B Department of Andhra Pradesh worked day and night to clear the roads during those two to three days. Drugs worth Rs. 11,57,000 had also been sent on the very next day of the calamity. On the second day drugs worth Rs. 4,14,000 were also sent. Subsequently, on the third day of the havoc, people working in the Civil Supplies Department had been rushed to Orissa with Polythene tarpaulin, polythene bags, jaggery, biscuits etc. All these involved an expenditure of Rs. 2,52,44,551/-.
Subsequently, about 900 people working in the Vidyut Soudha, that is the Andhra Pradesh Transport and Electricity Department, were sent to Orissa to restore the electricity lines. This has involved an expenditure to the tune of Rs. 74 lakhs ... (Interruptions)
SHRI RAJESH PILOT : Sir, I have read in the newspapers and my colleague here also has been saying that their State Government had sent medicines and manpower and all that. Now, is it also a fact that they have sent a bill worth rupees eight crore to the Government of Orissa?
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : It is not for bills.
SHRI RAJESH PILOT : I just want to educate myself. My question is very simple. Is it a fact, which I read in the newspapers, that the Andhra Pradesh Government has billed the Orissa Government for rupees eight crore? Is it a fact or not?
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : It is only a help that has been rendered by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to the State of Orissa.
SHRI RAJESH PILOT : I agree with you. We are all thankful for that. More than that we are obliged. But is it a fact that the Orissa government has been billed for rupees eight crore by the Government of Andhra Pradesh?
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : No.
SHRI MADHAVRAO SCINDIA : He should send everything but not the bills.
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, this is all the help that has been sent to the State of Orissa from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Reddy, please conclude now.
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, I am concluding in a minute. Handloom cloth worth Rs.74,42,000 had been sent to Orissa. Besides this, even private individuals, voluntary organisations and also the salaried people in Andhra Pradesh have contributed and those were also sent as relief materials to Orissa. Even my colleague, Shri M.V.S.Murthy has contributed rupees five lakh. Food packets were organised and were distributed continuously for 15 days and it involved an expenditure to tune of Rs. 75 lakh. These were organised from Vizag alone.
Sir, a lot of help has been rendered by the State of Andhra Pradesh to Orissa. We are proud that our Chief Minister had risen to the occasion and on humanitarian grounds have rendered help. He was the first person to have shown this national spirit and rendered this help to the people of Orissa.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please conclude now.
PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, I am concluding in a minute.
In this connection I would like to submit one thing. The sufferings of the people of Orissa, at present, are of a low magnitude.
In the days to come the sufferings will be greater. What they have suffered now is not going to be all. We, in Andhra Pradesh, have a lot of experience in these things. We also suffer from frequent cyclones and floods. During the subsequent years when the crops are lost, when all the orchards are lost, when the total earnings are gone, the sufferings of these people which have to be dealt with in the days to come are going to be much more. The help that is being rendered by the Government, the State or the Central Government, at the present juncture is not going to be sufficient. They will have to go in for a long term plan as to how these people who are suffering can be helped. Even the restoration of orchards, restoration of coconut groves takes a long time. It takes not less than ten years after replantation for the orchards and groves to come to the stage of economic bearings. All these ten years the affected families will not have any income to sustain their livelihood. So, it requires a long term plan to help these victims in real sense.
Cholera and other epidemics that break out at these times will lead to an alarming situation. They will have to be met with a lot of commitment. At this juncture, the Union and State Governments should stand by each other and look at the victims first but not at the political or other consideration which would come in the way of restoration work. One should rise to the occasion, reach above all other considerations in providing relief to the affected people.
I would like to give a small example for the benefit of the Government of India. For Latur earthquake victims KFW from Germany gave some grant. For 1996 cyclone victims in Andhra Pradesh also KFW, Germany, gave an outright grant of Rs.42 crore for construction of houses. Similarly, even now a lot of international aid agencies can be roped in to provide funds and grants for taking up relief measures for the cyclone victims. With these words, I conclude.
SHRI K.P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I come from a place called Dhenkanal. It was one of the first States to merge into India. The reason why I am saying this is that I would not like to refer to this super cyclone T-70 which is the severest and the rarest cyclone of this century, not designated so by K.P. Singh Deo but by the Indian Meteorological Department and international meteorological bodies. Hon. friend Shri Anadi Sahu and I were talking to the Met office on the 29th of October, the day we were discussing the cyclone of the 17th, exactly one month back, on that fateful and disastrous day of 29th October. The Indian Met Department said that the last cyclone which was of the rarest severity was only T-4.8. That means this was about 70 per cent more severe in magnitude and severity than the last one which hit Andhra Pradesh in 1990.
This super cyclone of rarest severity hit the eastern board of India. Let us forget the little States which were there before 1947 -- after 1947, I think, the whole thing is India. It is the eastern board of India which has been destroyed, devastated and damaged by winds of 300 kilometres per hour speed and by three days of incessant rainfall bringing in floods. It was 24 hours of hell for at least half the population of Orissa.
Orissa is that little area which has been an imaginary boundary by Cartographers, but part of India, where 3.19 crore people live out of which 1.5 crore have been going through hell, through hurricane gale and rains of destruction.
Sir, one-third of Orissa, which we now call, has been destroyed. Half of it is paralysed or totally wiped out. Some of us like Shri Kanungo, Shri Sahu, myself, my colleague Shri Madhavrao Scindia, my leader Shrimati Sonia Gandhi and many others have visited those areas. The only semblance of a habitation is a few tube wells and a level ground. Banian trees have been uprooted. Coconut trees have been uprooted. Even palm tree which is as strong, or tough as steel or iron pillar at Qutub Minar, was uprooted. If a drop of water does not drop on that palm tree, it can survive for 300 years or even more. Even palm trees were cut, as if someone has cut it with an axe. This was the scene.
Today two lakh children are orphaned. They are destitutes. The other figures have been given by my eminent colleagues and my distinguished colleagues. The State Government claims 10,000 deaths by today's newspapers. Prime Minister's Office has leaked out to the Press that 25,000 thousand have died. BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, says 100,000. So, Sir, I am only thinking of Gladstone and Disraeli who had said `lies, damn lies and statitics.' The thing is that all these figures of 15 lakh families, for whom the scheme has come for emergent relief and rehabiliation, will very soon become 25 lakh families because every single day, new dead bodies are coming up. Just 15 minutes back, Dr. Nitish Sengupta was mentioning that bodies have been found in Contai, and Shri Brajakishore Tripathy will bear me out that the dead bodies of the people from the Jagatsinghpur area, have been found in Chilka lake. And, we do not know because of the receding tide which came at six metre height, how many dead bodies have been washed into the sea and where they have gone; whether they have been devoured by sharks or they have gone elsewhere or to the coast of the Bangladesh or even to the coast of Andhra Pradesh?
Sir, therefore, the figures as of today, i.e., as of 29th of November, are only notional because more and more bodies, more and more carcasses, more and more evidence of the propensity, the magnitude and the severity of this holocaust is being unearthed. About the total damage, God alone knows.
The infrastructure belonging to the Government Department, on the last report which I saw of the Orissa Government, was 2,500 crore. Now, my friend, Shri Anadi Sahu is mentioning about industry which is 3,000 crore. Now, total agricuture has been wiped out. Today we are very fortunate that the new Cabinet Minister of Agriculture is present here who comes from Eastern India. The 1866 famine also hit at that time the composite State of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa where millions died. And that was the first time that the famine code was ever thought out by the Britishers. The famine code which is quite archaic and antiquated, I think, in the threshold of the next millennium requires a lot of revision.