The crores of rupees spent on building cyclone shelters in Bhadrak district seem to have gone down the drain.
The shelters built after the super cyclone of 1999 are dilapidated sans maintenance and many of them do not have required equipment.
As per records of the District Emergency Office, 51 cyclone shelters were constructed in the district between 2000 and 2003. While Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) constructed 31 shelters, the Red Cross built another 20.
However, none of these is in a usable condition today, alleged members of various Cyclone Shelter Management and Maintenance Committee (CSMMC) in the district. “Paint of the building has peeled off. Doors and windows are broken and water leaks from the walls during rains. Even some of the cyclone shelters do not have drinking water facilities as water pipes are damaged,” said Gangadhara Bindhani, secretary of Karanjamala CSMMC.
Worse, none of these shelters has power supply. Besides, training and rescue operations have come to a halt. CSMMC members alleged that the training of locals in search and rescue operations has not been carried out for the last seven years. In 2005, OSDMA had trained 25 people in search and rescue operations and first aid.
Ananta Jena, secretary of Brajanandapur CSMMC, said over 10 youths who were trained in search and rescue operations during calamities like flood and cyclone, migrated to other states for work.
On the other hand, the District Emergency Officer, Suryakanta Padhi, said that OSDMA had provided funds to the CSMMCs for repair and maintenance works of the cyclone shelters.
“We had asked them to look after the structures and funds for the purpose were provided at regular intervals,” he said. He denied the charge that no training was organised for the youths. “They are trained on yearly basis,” the officer added.