Bhubaneswar: Chairing a one day brainstorming interactive session on the livelihood challenges staring at millions affected by the very severe cyclonic storm Fani, well known social activist Jagadananda said, unity among all the stakeholders would help tackle the issues, successfully.
“Cyclone Fani may have battered millions of lives, however it has also given an opportunity to all of us to stand together and meet those challenges,” Jagadananda said. “We have overcome such challenges before and we will do it again,” he added.
The session was attended by over 50 delegates, including representatives from different departments of government of India (CIFA, Coconut development board), Department of Agriculture, Government of Odisha, APICOL, IMAGE Agri-Odisha, experts, Civil Society, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) representatives, affected villages in Puri district, fertilizer companies, media as well as Odisha Society of Americas (OSA)’s president, Lalatendu Mohanty and Vice President Susil Panda.
Held at the Centre for Youth and Development (CYSD), the event got underway as the participating delegates put forth the rural livelihood issues spanning across all sectors-agriculture, poultry, fishery, horticulture, art & craft, local level businesses etc.
Eminent environmentalist Professor Radhamohan, stressed upon the urgent restoration of livelihood of all and the vulnerable Dalits and backward sections in particular. “That’s an urgent need,” he said.
Having already visited the devastated sites, Both Mr Mohanty and Panda of OSA took active part in the day’s processes. “We may have been thousands of miles away, but, we have seen what has happened to our people in the villages. The issues identified are real and needs quick redresssal. We will try and do our bit for the people of our state,” Mohanty said,
Issues identified and suggestions made:
Agriculture: Distribution of quality seeds, Assistance of agro equipments, Awareness on Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, A proposed meeting with Secretary Cooperation for procurement of paddy through mandi so as to arrest distress sell of produce.
Fishery: Immediate catching of big fishes from the ponds and their sell in order to avoid further loss, fishing boats repairing. Damage assessment of fishing boats not done yet.
Mr Jagadananda suggested a quick survey to be conducted which would collect evidence so that, it could be matched with the government data, so that it could be taken up with the government. CIFA was requested to conduct assessment in a couple of places.
Mushroom cultivation: No shed left. There is also lack of thatch and seeds.
Poultry: Insurance companies deliberately avoiding poultry insurance. The cap on number of birds as far as assistance against damaged poultry firms is going to affect the poultry growers.
Animal husbandry: Female calves neglected. Emphasis has to be given on de-warming of the cows and buffaloes. De-warming costs approximately Rs. 10 per one cow, but helps productivity.
Plantations: Volunteers from civil society to help government in the distribution of saplings from 50 kiosks.
Coconut plantations: Improved variety, low in height but high yielding coconut plants to be popularised. As the new plants would take at least seven years to yield coconuts, an interim support (banana plantation) could be the option to help the farmers earn some amount.
On May 3, the category 4, Cyclone Fani struck Odisha, killing 64 people and causing widespread devastations in 14 districts. Puri, Khordha and Cuttack were the most affected.