...Orissa's coastal districts still lies in ruins
A year after the devastating cyclone in Orissa, the rebuilding process is still going on. On the environmental front, however, the state government is yet to take large-scale programmes to regenerate the area. In the aftermath of the cyclone, a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had proposed to the government to initiate a community-based programme to regenerate the areas. But till date nothing has come of it.
"In the early stages one could hear that the government was thinking about regenerating the coastal forests. Some money, a pittance actually, was sanctioned for plantation in backward areas. The divisional forest officers were asked to give some money to the District Rural Development Agency for regeneration. But till date noting has happened," says Nirmal Jyotishi of the Bhubaneswar-based Regional Centre for Development Cooperation. It is well-known that the depletion of mangrove forests had led to the disaster.
"The NGO proposal was merged with the governments proposal and was presented to donor agencies. It only remained in spirit not in content and the government proposal was very poor. Naturally, they did not get any financial help from the agencies. Only some nurseries have been built till date," says Sarthak Paul of OXFAM, another NGO which operates in seven districts and in 16 gram panchayats of the state.
The supercyclone hit the state's 10 coastal districts early on October 29. It remained there for about eight hours with wind velocities rising to nearly 300 kilometre per hour. Swept by the ferocious winds, the sea ingressed 15-20 kilometre with nine-metre high waves.
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