In the wake of tropical cyclonic storm Fani, a Dalit man from Kendrapara district of Odisha, has reportedly been living in a toilet along with his spouse and two full-grown daughters. The family has been forced to live in the 'pucca' toilet after the extremely severe storm demolished his 'kutcha' house to the ground, causing massive damage in the coastal state.
Under the Modi-led BJP government's flagship programme Swachh Bharat Mission, the Dalit man, identified as Khirod Jena, was allotted the 7 feet x 6 feet toilet in Raghudeipur village.
"The cyclone destroyed my house. But the pucca toilet was saved. I have nowhere to go. The toilet allotted to me two days back has become by the shelter house. I do not know how long we will be staying here," said the 58-year-old Dalit man, who have been rendered homeless, as quoted by news agency PTI.
This heart-wrenching incident happened after Cyclone Fani hit the Kendrapara district on May 3.
The Dalit man, who is also a landless daily wage earner, stated that the cyclone has completely shattered his life. Jena claimed that he has to wait for cyclone restoration grants to rebuild his house as he has no resources to rebuild the house and is left with no other option.
"Till officials award me cyclone damage compensation, the toilet will continue to be my house. With toilet being occupied, we are forced to defecate in open now," Jena said.
"I had applied for housing grant either under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) or under Biju Pucca Ghar Scheme. But the housing grants had eluded me. The cyclone would have spared my house if my kutcha house would have taken the form of pucca dwelling unit with government assistance. But that was not to be," he bemoaned.
"It has been brought to our notice that a family has been living in a toilet in Derabish block after the cyclone-ravaged their house. Cyclone damage grants besides separate housing grants are being awarded to the family expeditious," Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Dillip Kumar Parida told the news agency.
The severe cyclonic storm Fani unleashed havoc in Odisha's coastal districts including Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur. The state government of Odisha has estimated a loss of Rs 525 crore caused by cyclone Fani. Over 60,000 trees were uprooted due to the massive storm. The government is still estimating the rebuilding cost in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani.
(With inputs from agencies)