After Phailin: Betel Farmers Carry on without Government Compensation

In October 2013 Cyclone Phailin swept across the Eastern coast of Odisha leaving large parts of the state devastated. Four months later many of the survivors continue to wait for compensation promised by the government.

Community Correspondent Rangadhar Mohapatra picks up the camera for the very first time to report on the situation of betel leaf farmers in Erasma Block in Jagatsinghpur District after the cyclone.

Sadhu Charan Sahi has spent a lifetime supporting his family through his betel leaf cultivation. His crop was one of thousands that were destroyed across Jagatsinghpur which is renowned for its betel leaves. In his village alone, 300 of the 500 families depend on betel leaf cultivation as a primary source of income.

The Odisha Relief code, 1996, sets out the procedures that need to be followed to assess the damage to crops and compensation for it in the event of natural disasters. Till now, no proper survey has taken place in the area, and the compensation… well its the usual story.

Now, farmers like Sadhu are forced to take on loans to re-plant the crops with the hope that next year will bring some money in. The question here is this:

In an economy that is heavily dependent on agriculture, can a State wipe its hands off all responsibilities from the losses of its people? Should it not be held responsible for at least giving the compensation it promises?

Call to Action: Please call Sarat Chandra Purohit, the Block Officer on 09437208778 and ask him to ensure that the families get proper compensation for their losses.

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