I would like to make a few suggestions. We have to recall the lessons learnt from the history for the last 35 years. We have been negligent in that whenever there is a cyclone, we have debated and forgotten about it. Therefore, we are suffering today. You were my Chairman in the Standing Committee on Railways when we said that for areas which were deficient in railways, there should be a separate Sub-Plan for Railways. It was unanimously passed. I demand that that part of India which is impoverished, which is being impoverished every year, eroded, there should be a special Plan for those four or five States or that part of Eastern India which is beset with this sort of weather related or natural calamities, whether you call it national or not.
The second is about communication. Today we are living in an age of technology and information technology. There are sat-radios, sat-phones, uninterrupted power supply, computerisation and video conferences with every Collector like Shri Chandrababu Naidu has done. This should be introduced. Shri Rajiv Gandhi had introduced computerisation - I was his Minister for Personnel - to every District Collector through NICNET. Why can we not do this?
The third is, investment is directly proportional to employment and human resource development. Orissa requires a huge investment. This is how other States have developed because that will give employment and HRD. Some of the permanent measures are shelters and warnings which we have not followed even after cyclones, saline embankments, flood embankments, husbanding of water resources, husbanding, drinking water, extensive communications, network of roads, rail and air.
I have a suggestion to make to the hon. Defence Minister. There should be Armed Forces, particularly an Engineering Regiment, presence somewhere in that area. It was under consideration during Gen. Vaidya's time and Gen. Krishna Rao's time. But unfortunately, it never materalised. It will help you to get over the logistic difficulties and time and cost run-off, if you locate an engineering brigade or an engineering regiment.
Finally, coming to the training of personnel to handle such a crisis, everything is there in the relief code, whether it is in the Central relief code or State relief code. But no training is given. Therefore, there is time lag between the event and evacuation or relief. Every time we will be debating that there was inadequacy either by the State Government or the Central Government and while the debate will go on, the people will go on suffering.
I thank you very much for giving me the time to speak in this discussion.
SHRI PRABHAT SAMANTRAY (KENDRAPARA): Sir, I am grateful that on the last 29th, when I raised this issue in this House, all my colleagues and the Government had expressed their concern about the seriousness of the cyclone. I belong to that unfortunate place, Kendrapara where nothing is left to call it a house or a school or a college. I am personally and unitedly thankful to Shri Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the people of Andhra Pradesh for their contributions, even though attempts have been made to erode their contributions. We will remember him always and we will also not forget the Defence personnel who saved our life. We have been hearing their contributions in the front but we have seen them when they rescued our people.
I have been hearing praise for the efficiency of the State Government and the Central Government. I wish they are efficient but the fact remains that even after a month of the cyclone, the promise of emergent relief within 15 days could not materialise and relief could not reach the people. In most of the places, relief did not reach people even till day before yesterday. It is 10 or 12 days since they got relief. That is the efficiency of the Government. Let us judge it from that angle. I admire that the Central Government is pumping food stuff and finance. With our own eyes, we have seen the piling up of food stocks coming from voluntary organisations. If there is a cricket match today, probably, the food stocks will outnumber the spectators present there. Even if each panchayat, right from Puri to Balosore, could have been provided one truck of food stocks today, then also the Government probably would have sufficient stocks at their disposal. That is their efficiency. But people do not have food to eat. Everyone, from rich to the poor, is in the streets and we call that we are efficient. Even after a month of cyclone, a piece of polyethylene could not be provided to the people and we call ourselves to be sympathetic and that we are doing everything for them. In what way we are helping them? Families have been washed away. In a family of 35 members, only a child of nine years is left. Who is looking after that child? How will he survive? With a heavy heart, I am telling that we are close to a famine-like situation in this coastal district. Kindly save us. I appeal to the Central Government and my friends to save us from this famine-like situation, inefficiency and deficiencies of this system.
It has been told that relief materials have been supplied in the shape of rice, dal, gur and chura. But in most of the blocks, where I moved from village to village, I do not know what has gone there - either rice or chura.
Sir, our ladies have been honoured with this kind of a relief saree. It is nothing less than a band-aid cloth.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Prabhat Samantray, you should not display it.
SHRI PRABHAT SAMANTRAY: We have become poor. I admit that we have nothing to claim today. But we have not lost our dignity. Is it the piece of saree to be supplied? We have been the victims of nature. But we have not committed any crime to get our food to survive...(Interruptions)
SHRI ANIL BASU : How have you got this? This saree was supposed to be given to the affected people. How did you bring the saree inside the House without giving it to the affected people?...(Interruptions)
SHRI PRABHAT SAMANTRAY : I have not committed any crime. We have got the poor quality saree...(Interruptions)
Sir, I have given a memorandum to the hon. Prime Minister on the fifth day when he visited Orissa. I have also submitted a memorandum to the hon. Prime Minister on the 19th. After this, the situation is very bad. We have motivated our cultivators to go in for cultivation because we know that relief will not be the mode of our survival. But the water which is needed most for the cultivation cannot be made available because power supply could not be met till today to any part of the remotest place or villages. The lift irrigation points are such that nothing can be done. Diesel pumps are not available. This is the fourth cyclone. In 1971, when there was a cyclone, I remember that when the State Government approached the Punjab Government, the Punjab Government could provide us a large number of tractors because bullocks were not there to cultivate the field. The water sources are almost impossible to be used. The way electrification and power supply is going on, it is not possible to have power supply and lift irrigation points. And by December 15, if seedling is not done, the second crop is impossible to be raised. We want to survive. So, please help us to survive.
We have been told that some of the Public Sector Undertakings of the Government of India are coming to reconstruct and rehabilitate the people in different blocks of the devastated area. Some names of the Public Sector Undertakings have been mentioned. But those Public Sector Undertakings need relief for themselves. They have been asked to help us! I do not know what is going to happen. I am not going to name the Public Sector Undertakings nor the blocks they have been allotted. I wish the allottee and the Government of India will consider their priority in helping us.
The hon. Prime Minister, in his wisdom, has formed a Task Force and the Chairman of the Task Force is the Defence Minister. He has visited three times after taking over the responsibility. But I am sorry to say that we have never had a chance to talk to him about our plight...(Interruptions) But the fact remains that the information that has been provided to him is not correct. Some area which is non-existent as a block or a portion of some area has been included as the portion of some other area so that the decison can be taken at the Government of India level. I do not know what are the parameters for all these things. What is wrong in consulting the Members of Parliament representing the people or the MLAs representing the people?
I have been listening to my esteemed colleague Shri Madhavrao Scindia. The day he, alongwith the Leader of the Oppostion, visited my constituency and was talking to the people about the relief work, what made the Chief Minister to run to the helicopter and hide himself? Is it not a fact that right from day one, the people who are monitoring the relief operations in Orissa from the State Secretariat have never visited the cyclone affected areas? Is it not a fact that almost all the Ministers of the State Government have not visited the cyclone affected areas? They do not have the first-hand knowledge of what is happening there. They have been relying more on the reports of the BDOs, Tehsildars and Collectors. Based on these reports they have been providing information to the Central Government. First we have been made to die by the nature and if rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes are taken up on the basis of such reports, I am afraid, probably we will be forced to die in an unnatural way.
Sir, I have some suggestions to make which I have gathered after talking to the people as to how they want to survive, not on relief alone. I have already stated that water and seeds are the most important things that are required to start cultivation. Apart from that, the cost of diesel has gone up and with that cost it would be difficult for a farmer to continue the cultivation and gain something out of it. So, subsidisation of diesel is needed in those affected areas for those who will be going in for cultivation. Then, fertiliser should also be supplied at a subsidised rate to the farmers in the affected areas who will be going in for the second crop. Now, about a lakh acres of land have been salinised. The people are telling that it cannot be cultivated for years together and without that it is impossible to help these people. Unfortunately or fortunately, that is the coastal belt of my constituency and the constituency of Shri Kanungo. The people there have been doing fishing for generations now and the Marine Law has prevented them from going to fishing. I do not know how they will survive now. So, I appeal to the hon. Prime Minister to, at least, relax it for six months so that they can go in for fishing, catch fish and survive because they cannot go in for cultivation in these areas.
Sir, there was a `Food for Work' programme earlier. After this destruction I would suggest that a `Food for Massive Plantation' should be taken up in all seriousness so that people can go in for plantation as well as earn something and provide food to their families. Then, provision of low cost houses for the people in this area is urgently needed because in every four or five years there is a cyclone. I hope the Government of India will be considering to provide houses to the people below the poverty line a house like the ones under the Indira Awas Yojana. Then, the people who intend to have pucca houses can be provided a loan of Rs.40,000/- with five per cent interest for 15 years so that they can have pucca houses and avoid this type of destruction in future.
Apart from that, a suggestion can be made to have a two-storeyed school in each and every village which can be converted into a cyclone centre during a cyclones and floods. It can be helpful to the people. They can take shelter in it and survive.
Apart from that, there are lakhs and lakhs of people who have survived because of their self-employment or engagement. They are doing pisciculture. They are having banana or coconut or betel leaf plantation, grocery shops, poultry, Jersey cows and tractors. There are so many people who have been living on their own. Now, they have lost everything. It is for the consideration of the Government of India to provide them soft loans ranging from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1 lakh with less margin money and less rate of interest and the repayment could be within 15 to 20 years so that they are able to start their own business. Thus, they would not be a burden for the society as well as the Government.
Finally, there was a proposal from the Government of Orissa five years back for construction of a highway-cum-sea wall from Kakinada to Digha in West Bengal through Orissa which would be a protection from sea waves as well as used as a highway linking Calcutta and Andhra Pradesh. That proposal has been sent to the World Bank. If Government of India takes interest and that work is started and along side that road if in a width of one kilometre the mangroves are planted, probably the future will have scope for forests to fight the cyclone onslaught which is coming very often.
With these words, I appeal to all of you and the Government of India to help our people to survive and live and see the next millennium.
SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI (RAIGANJ): Mr. Chairman, Sir, I understand that many speakers are to speak on this subject. I understand that the Prime Minister will intervene and the Minister of Agriculture will reply. There will be other Members of the Cabinet to intervene. So, I think, it will not be possible to complete the whole debate by six o'clock.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Let us see.
SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : Would you please take the consensus before six o'clock or will it be after that so that one can plan the programme?
MR. CHAIRMAN: We will decide it after six o'clock. Now, Shrimati Geeta Mukherjee will speak.
SHRIMATI GEETA MUKHERJEE (PANSKURA): Hon. Chairman, I have had the fortune of going to Orissa through Bhubaneshwar. In the last village that we could reach, some of the women told me, "Mother, we do not want anything. Give us poison so that we can die." So, from this one incident, you can imagine what the misfortune of the Orissa people could be due to this super cyclone. Many of my colleagues have given figures. I do not want to go into that. One thing is clear that due to the rule that unless a person can be identified, he cannot be taken officially in the list of those dead persons. I understand that there are some problems. But if such a calamity takes place, then, the very existence of the dead bodies should be enough. When I was visiting the affected areas, I saw mass graves where human beings as well as cattle were being put together. And the military people were putting some material like sand or some other thing and getting them filled up.
You cannot imagine the tremendous foul smell that was there in the area. What has happened is very clear because most of the houses collapsed. These houses collapsed with the human beings trapped inside, with the result that so much of foul smell was coming. That required the services of the military personnel to clear the ways. They had to use not the ordinary saws but electrically operated saws. I have never seen such a thing in my life before. All the banyan trees were totally uprooted. Such was the tremendous impact of the cyclone. We have never seen such a calamity.
Many of my friends have already pointed out the areas of calamity. I do not want to repeat those points because of paucity of time, but I want to say some things which the Government of Orissa and people of Orissa told us and what help they require. Naturally, they do not want to die. They want to live and they want us to let them live. They want blankets immediately so that they can cover their heads and bodies; they want food to survive and food for work so that they can go in for the next crop. It is not only the question of food for work but in every field they require some help and we have to do that.
Apart from that, as you know, saline water has vitiated many areas of cultivation. Now, desalination has to be done but at the same time, it is true that there are certain varieties of seeds and plants which can be used in that saline water and we have a special institute for all these. I would request the Government to ask those special institutes immediately to give such seeds or plants which can be put in the saline water. Of course, after that the desalination has to come.
I went to one of the villages where out of 180 children, school boys and girls, only three are alive. What do you expect? How could that school run in the future? It is not a question of only a building. Building, of course, is very much necessary. If there is no building, what will happen to those teachers because of this devastating situation?
There are many aspects which have to be gone into as I understood from seeing the place there. This question of planting trees is very important. One of my friends said which is very much true that for the last two years in the Jagatsinghpur area, there have been tremendous heat waves and this year with all the trees being out of the soil that heat wave will be very much more. So whatever plantation can be done should be done quickly.
Along with me was the Secretary of the Uttakkal Mahila Federation.
She was telling me that they were trying to buy some banana saplings and some papaya saplings because within three months they can grow and will give some relief. Can we not do that? Can we not find them all over the country from where we can get these kind of things? So, immediately some such things are necessary; then, immediately some more things are necessary; and ultimately these things are necessary. All these things have to be gone into with very serious attention.
Some of the things have already been mentioned by my friends. I am not repeating those, as I said. They are about saplings, tractors and buildings which will not collapse in future. In fact, I saw in one of the villages where some people are alive only because they could get on to the top of the two-storeyed building and all the others have died. Therefore, taking the area into consideration, these things have to be particularly given attention to.