People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 20, 2013





Declare Cyclone A National Calamity: AIKS


THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has expressed concern at the destruction of life and property in the recent Phailin cyclone, in which the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been the worst hit. The AIKS has demanded that it be declared an extraordinary national calamity and steps be taken to provide relief, reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement on a war footing. The AIKS also expressed its sense of relief over the fact that the loss of life was minimised by the commendable effort of the biggest ever evacuation in India.


The AIKS statement issued by its president Amra Ram and general secretary Hannan Mollah from New Delhi, on October 15, said the task now is not just of relief, reconstruction and resettlement. The damages to livelihood are immense and efforts are required to generate confidence among the people and ensure minimum livelihood security. In Odisha the cyclone has affected about 20 districts. Though the cyclone mainly hit Ganjam and Puri, which bore the brunt, districts like Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Bargarh, Jharsiguda, Bolangir, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Koraput are also severely flooded. In Andhra Pradesh, the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagarm and parts of East Godavari have also been badly affected. Parts of East Midnapur, South and North 24 Paraganas districts in West Bengal have been affected. Parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have also been affected.


More than five lakh hectares of standing crops have been destroyed in Odisha alone, causing a loss of over Rs 2500 crores. More than one crore people have been affected and lakhs of houses have been totally destroyed across the trail of the cyclone. The fishing community has also been badly affected with their implements, small boats and other belongings being washed away. The AIKS has therefore demanded that the central government announce a special package to compensate for the losses the peasantry, the sharecroppers, the agricultural workers and fishing community have suffered. It has also demanded a compensation of not less than Rs 30,000 per hectare of the crop lost along with adequate protection of the interests of sharecroppers, three months of wages for agricultural workers, provision of fishing nets and other equipments to the fishing community and free ration to all the affected people for the next three months. Proper housing for all the homeless must also be taken up in this hour of tragedy.


Infrastructure for distribution of electricity has been completely wiped out in Ganjam and supply has been disrupted in many other regions across the trail of the cyclone. Speedy reconstruction of such infrastructure has to be done. Drinking water is not available in most regions; the threat of water-borne epidemics also looms large. The government must therefore provide adequate quantity of drinking water, organise health facilities, take up Food for Work programme, waive all existing agricultural loans, provide crop loans for the next crop at zero interest rate and provide free seeds, fertilisers and other agricultural inputs for the next crop. The central government must take greater responsibility and assist the states affected.


The AIKS also demanded that companies like the POSCO along the Odisha coast, which have been responsible for indiscriminate destruction of the mangroves and lakhs of trees which acted as a buffer against cyclonic storms and minimised the damages, must be made liable and forced to pay huge compensation for wilful damage caused to life, crops and environment.


Kisan Sabha activists are actively involved in the relief work in the affected states. The AIKS has called upon all its units to stand in solidarity and help the affected people with generous contributions.