Bahanaga: More than 200 quintal of rice sanctioned for distribution of relief among the residents affected by cyclonic storm Phailin is rotting in the godown of Bahanaga panchayat in Balasore district though eight years and six months have passed since the storm caused loss of lives and properties in the district. The calamity struck Odisha coast October 12, 2013. Around a million people were evacuated while several lives were lost and houses and properties destroyed in the calamity.
Considering the loss, the state government decided to distribute rice for free among the families affected by the calamity. Hundreds of quintals of rice were transported to various panchayats in the state for distribution as relief in the presence of a magistrate by the state Food Supplies and Supply department.
Residents raised questions as to how the panchayat authorities were left with over 200 quintal of rice that was meant for distribution among the affected families. The rice stored in the godown has allegedly been attacked by moths while the presence of rats and snakes in the godown cannot be ruled out. No one in the panchayat office has any answer regarding the key of the godown. Sarpanch Brajendra Kumar Panda said that he does not have the key of the godown.
He said after taking charge as sarpanch he enquired about the key from the former sarpanch but he had no answer. Meanwhile, Panda has submitted a written complaint to the Bahanaga BDO and the district Collector regarding the missing key but they are yet to take any steps in this regard.
The incumbent sarpanch had submitted a written complaint to the former Collector K Sudarshan Chakraborty May 23 but no step was taken in this regard. When contacted, BDO Susant Kumar Barik of Soro block who is also in-charge BDO of Bahanaga block refused to speak on the issue stating he has been here only for last 15 days. He also ruled out receiving any complaint in this regard.
He said that only the then BDOs, tehsildars and sarpanchs who were in office in 2013 can only comment on the issue. The sarapnch said that no one is taking any step regarding his complaint for which he will soon file a complaint with the state relief commissioner (SRC).