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Rain compounds woes of people in Orissa

Prafulla Das

At least 370 villages continue to be marooned

PHOTO: PTI

IN SEARCH OF DRY LAND: A boy takes his cattle to a safer place at flood-hit Dhanukera, 50 km from Bhubaneswar, on Tuesday.

BHUBANESWAR: Heavy rain and shortage of polythene sheets have added to the plight of lakhs of flood-affected people in Orissa. Against the requirement of 200 tonnes of polythene sheets, the State Government has been able to procure only 45 tonnes by Tuesday.

Faced with strong complaints of inadequate relief measures from the people taking shelter on river embankments and other places, the State Government started the process of purchasing polythene sheets on Sunday. The Government had not purchased polythene sheets since irregularities were committed in the purchase of the material in the aftermath of the super-cyclone in October 1999.

Of the 45 tonnes of sheets received so far, 40 tonnes had been dispatched to the worst-hit Kendrapara district. Another 50 tonnes of sheets was likely to be distributed among the flood-hit people in Puri district by Wednesday and orders had already been placed for 100 tonnes more to meet the requirement, State Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal said.

At least 370 villages, with a population of around four lakhs, continued to be marooned till Tuesday evening, Mr. Samal said. While 233 villages remained marooned in Kendrapara, 100 villages were surrounded by floodwaters in Puri. The authorities had been able to make relief materials reach all the marooned villages, he claimed. More than 16,000 people, who fled their homes after flood waters damaged their houses, had taken shelter at high lands and safer places in Kendrapara district, according to Mr. Samal. A total of 433 villages had been affected by the floods in the district.

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