Severe Cyclone Fani struck eastern states of India, including Odisha and West Bengal earlier this month. Around 12 lakh people were evacuated from Odisha to refuge camps. Over 12 people were killed, house and trees were uprooted in the natural calamity. Since cyclone struck Odisha, a Dalit man in Kendrapara district has been living in a toilet with his family. He along with his spouse and two grown-up daughters are living in the toilet after Cyclone Fani razed his kutcha house to the ground. Cyclone Fani had hit the Kendrapara district on May 3.
The Dalit man identified as Khirod Jena, who is a daily wage earner in Raghudeipur village was allotted the 7 feet x 6 feet toilet under the Centre's flagship programme Swachh Bharat Mission.
"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 has been rendered homeless.
Cyclone Fani has completely shattered his life, Jena said he has no resources to rebuild the house and is left with no other option but to wait for cyclone restoration grants to rebuild a house for him and had to live in a toilet.
"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," he 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," said Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Dillip Kumar Parida.