SRIKAKULAM: The distribution of additional compensation to Titli cyclone victims has put the beneficiaries as well as officials in a dilemma.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has sanctioned Rs 182 crore as additional compensation as assured during his padayatra, but several cyclone victims have complained that their names have been removed from the list.
Severe cyclonic storm Titli hit the Uddanam region of Srikakulam in October 2018, affecting 1, 06,592 farmers.
An extent of 22,000 hectares of cashew crops and 12, 56, 229 coconut trees were damaged in Uddanam region, which spreads in seven mandals in the district, due to the cyclone. The then government led by N Chandrababu Naidu disbursed Rs 1,500 for the loss of each coconut tree and Rs 30,000 per hectare for the damage to cashew crop to 90,000 farmers.
However, as many as 16,000 victims did not get compensation due to various reasons. Jagan, who was the Leader of the Opposition at the time, interacted with the cyclone victims during his padayatra and assured them of paying additional compensation of Rs 1,500 per coconut tree and Rs 20,000 per hectare for the damage to the cashew crop if he comes to power.
Chief Minister Jagan sanctioned Rs 182.60 crore as additional compensation before his recent district visit.
On June 24, Assembly Speaker Tammineni Seetharam launched the distribution of the additional compensation to the cyclone victims at Boddapadu village in Palasa mandal along with revenue minister Dharmana Prasadarao, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Sidiri Appalaraju and other people’s representative and officials.
The revenue, agriculture and horticulture officials have been crediting the compensation to the victims' bank accounts as per the old beneficiaries' list since June 25.
With this, around 16,000 cyclone victims, who were ignored during the previous government, launched a protest demanding compensation to them as assured by Jagan. Besides, district officials have allegedly removed a few beneficiaries from the list citing ineligibility.
With this, hundreds of cyclone victims have started visiting Palasa Revenue Divisional Office every day demanding additional compensation. Palasa RDO Seetharamurthy opened special counters with the horticulture official to take the representations from the victims. In the meanwhile, the district officials have frozen the bank accounts of beneficiaries who already received the additional compensation.
D Laxmoji of Bidimi village said, "I have lost coconut crop to an extent of 0.91 acres due to the Titli cyclone. However, the previous government paid Rs 11,054 as compensation for cashew instead of coconut trees in 2018. Horticulture officials have issued a letter for pending compensation of Rs 75,692 after verifying documents. However, the government has deposited only Rs 7,147 in my bank account as additional compensation."
Kameswari of Bethalapuram said, "I am one among the 16,000 victims who become ineligible for compensation. I have been visiting government offices to get compensation for the last three years. However, I did not get compensation this time either."
Palasa RDO Seetharamamurthy said, "We are receiving hundreds of representations from the public. We have arranged special counters to receive the grievances. The officials have frozen the bank accounts of those who received the additional compensation. We will take the issues to our higher official’s notice and disburse the compensation as per their directions."