BHUBANESWAR: Criticising the Odisha government's handling of Cyclone Titli and resultant floods, the CPI(M) said Monday though the state has a capable government, political direction did not come on time.
Speaking to reporters here, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the state government needs to step in a "big way" and provide necessary relief to the people "who continue to suffer".
"On behalf of our party, we will undertake our actions of relief, but that is not adequate. The state needs to step in a big way," he said.
The CPI(M) veteran said after the unprecedented floods in Kerala in August, the LDF government in the state had effectively handled the situation.
The Kerala government had undertaken the largest evacuation of people marooned by floods and could minimise deaths, he said.
"The casualty was minimised in Kerala under the direction and leadership of the state government and the chief minister," he pointed out.
Both Odisha and Kerala have capable state governments and equally capable administration, he said.
"But it requires political direction from the state, which unfortunately did not come this time in Odisha," he said.
The death toll due to the cyclonic storm in Odisha rose to 24 on Sunday even as the flood situation in the state improved marginally.
The CPI(M) general secretary also criticised the reported move of the Odisha government to close down relief camps.
Yechury said that he came to know from newspaper reports Monday that relief camps were being closed by the state government and it was "unacceptable" to the Left party.
"We hope the state will take up the job seriously and not close down the relief camps just by saying that this is end of the matter. That will be very unfortunate and very inhuman," Yechury said.
When contacted, an official at the Special Relief Commissioner's office said 1,12,931 people were still lodged in 854 relief camps of the state and cooked food was being provided to the inmates.
Altogether 3,60,132 people had taken refuge in 1,614 relief camps of the state during the natural calamities, he said.
"We are not forcing anyone to leave the camps. Wherever there is an improvement, people are returning to their villages on their own," he said.
Expressing condolence over the deaths in the twin calamities, Yechury said, "Our state committee yesterday got reports from the calamity-affected districts where this tragedy occurred. Our reports show higher casualty."
CPI(M) state committee secretary Alikishore Patnaik claimed that the casualty in the twin calamities was over 40 and extent of crop loss was more.
The Left party has demanded Rs 20 lakh compensation for the families who lost their near and dear ones in the calamities.
The state has announced Rs 4 lakh as compensation which is grossly inadequate, Patnaik said.
He also asked the state government to provide 'pucca' houses to all the poor who had lost their dwelling units in the calamities.