Jagatsinghpur: On October 29, Orissa observed 12th anniversary of the 1999 Super Cyclone, arguably the biggest tragedy in the history of the state as well as the country, perhaps as one of the most ravaging natural disaster that mankind has experienced in modern times.
As the state hosted the anniversary certain realties stare us in the face, there is no denying fact that thanks to official apathy and irregularities, several victims of the tragedy are yet to get compensation similarly the reconstruction work in several areas has also been less than satisfactory, government has unable to handle relief distribution, implement housing scheme, restructuring communication system, providing basic necessities to victims in past twelve years an old finger pointing.
Eventually governments lacks post restoration follow up measures as consequence few projects completed successfully have come to dire state draws criticism from public domain, glaring instance any one can find looking cyclone shelter and school buildings constructed aftermath super cyclone 1999 in Jagatsinghpur.
Report said that about all schools in the Jagatsinghpur district were either damaged or razed to the ground in the past devastating super cyclone 1999 most of them have reached rebuilt and repaired. Government agencies, several NGOs and many public undertaking companies had undertaken such new construction and repair works as result thousands of schools were received new faces but situation has arisen due to lack yearly maintenance most of buildings have come dilapidated conditions and unsafe for use ironically government unheeded over the incident in spite of public complaints.
Government authorities are unable to provide adequate funds over the yearly maintenance works, meanwhile the donor NGOs, public companies after completing the construction have been escaped from liability handing over the buildings to the school authorities and pleading bear no risk to provide yearly maintenance cost for future.
Official reports indicate that nearly 801 OBB school buildings have been constructed in Jagatsinghpur district by spending about Rs 16 crore, followed by as many as 972 primary schools, 192 high schools have been constructed and repaired after super cyclone. Besides under cyclone shelter cum school building scheme Paradeep Port trust and Paradeep phosphates limited had undertaken to build 181 school buildings from the Prime minister Relief funds [PMRF] each costing Rs 3.50 Lakh including 30 buildings had built in 4 blocks by National project Construction Corporation under PMRF.
Under chief minister relief fund nearly 8 school buildings and cyclone shelters had constructed at cost Rs 10 Lakh each. Moreover Maharastra government who adopted Jagatsinghpur district after super cyclone has constructed about 52 schools cum cyclone shelters by cost Rs 18 Lakh to 20 Lakh each.
However those public undertaking companies and NGOs had ventured to rebuild school buildings reported as Indian overseas Bank3, TATA Relief 2, CASA 4, Reserve Bank of India 1, RK Mission 1, CMRF phase two 7, LOS 6, HUDCO 10, CYSD 3, RD department 7, Karnatak Govt 1, IRCS 2 and each buildings had cost Rs 15 Lakh to 20 Lakh. Furthermore 17 school buildings had newly constructed under member of parliament local area development funds including all the primary school buildings affected in super cyclone had constructed under Sarva Sikhya Abhuyan [ SSA] scheme.
Official records show that after completion of theses school buildings immediately handed over to the school authorities. Orissa State Disaster Management Authority [OSDMA] had deployed to supervise the work and monitor the quality of construction when school authority and local Panchayat representative had ignored to look after the construction.
But after passing of year’s trouble arises to carry smooth maintenance of these school buildings and yearly repairing cost, state government paid no heed to bear the yearly maintenance cost and donors refused to take any further risk towards maintenance and provide any fund. As consequence most of the buildings have affected and few of them have come under unused and unsafe for use.
According to sources in many school cum cyclone shelters even in a light drizzle leads to seepage from the ceiling in some cyclone shelters poor quality of bricks, little cement had used led to substandard construction in some areas.
Two years ago district administration faced an awkward situation when a parliamentary committee visited Jagatsinghpur district to look after the cyclone shelters funded under MP local area development funds after super cyclone, civil officials put in trouble how to show the visiting dignitaries as many of these buildings have come either damage or unsafe for use so collector called an urgent meeting and instructed SSA authority to repair theses buildings forthwith, unfortunately the parliamentary committee visited only 3 cyclone shelters two in Biridi block and one in Jagatsinghpur and returned back Delhi following urgent engagement and sources informed that the visiting committee members had expressed displeasure after looking these buildings and instructed civil administration taking care of these buildings before their next visit likely in December 2011.
According one Sandeep Panda a civil engineer says that each building needs some yearly maintenance expenditure for its smooth longevity and it is described during the project estimate is being made , at least 2 percent can be allotted apart from the project cost for this purpose, in absence of yearly maintenance a building loses its durability, he informs.
On the other hand district school authorities expressed yearly maintenance of school buildings have curtailed by education department after SSA projects launched however SSA funds cannot be diverted for this purpose, informed Nirmal Das , District project coordinator , SSA.
However OSDMA sources said for multi purpose cyclone shelters annually Rs50,000 each have been provided to the registered cyclone shelter management and maintenance committee [ CSMMC] exists in village level as corpus fund for management and maintenance of these buildings but it is not possible to provide yearly funds to each cyclone shelter built after super cyclone towards its yearly maintenance while we are taking care those buildings require urgent renovation and repair.