Jajpur: More than 3,000 artisans hit by cyclone Fani nearly two months ago are still reeling under distress in this district due to lack of compensation from the state government, a report said.
The calamity inflicted heavy damage on the district. But the worst sufferers are the artisans whose raw materials, tools and workshops were either destroyed or heavily damaged. The artisans include statue and idol makers, stone carvers, and brass and terracotta craftsmen. Their total loss is estimated at Rs 3, 88,40,600.
The inordinate delay in paying compensation is attributed to lack of adequate manpower in completing a survey of the affected artisans within the deadline of June 26, 2019.
As such the District Industries Centre (DIC) is yet to conduct a survey of another 1,200 artisans in the district, DIC sources said. The DIC general manager has sought an additional 15 days time from higher ups to complete the survey of all the affected artisans.
In the absence of livelihood, the artisans are suffering a lot. Observers blame the DIC for the problem. They claim that the DIC is not showing enough concern in completing the survey.
They alleged that the government has announced several schemes for the development of cottage and handicraft industries but the apathetic attitude of the DIC has come in the way of successfully implementing them.
This has also slowed down the growth of these traditional industries which form the backbone of many in the society. While lack of infrastructure and proper marketing facilities have hindered the growth of these traditional sectors, the artisans have failed to get proper returns on their products.
At a time when the artisans were struggling hard to make their ends meet, the calamity which struck the Odisha coast May 3 destroyed their livelihood.
Reports said the cyclonic storm had affected 3,067 artisans living in 10 blocks and two civic body areas.
The artisans, led by their secretary Priya Ranjan Kar, have drawn the attention of the State Handloom and Textile Minister Padmini Dian, the department Secretary Jyoti Prakash Das and Director Basant Kumar Das of Handicraft and Cottage Industries Department but their pleas are yet to be addressed. Kar warned of an agitation if their demands are not met at the earliest.
The state government has formed a Handloom and Handicraft Development Council and sanctioned Rs 20 crore. However, the council is yet to be functional due to the negligence and apathetic attitude of the department officials.
Basant Kumar Das said a report on the list of affected artisans is almost complete but providing them compensation has been delayed due to unavailability of funds.