New Delhi: Taking 'suo moto' cognisance of media reports, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Odisha government, directing it to ensure adequate food and water supplies to affected people in the cyclone-hit state.
"NHRC has taken suo moto cognisance of a media report that people are facing hardship and are agitated that cyclone relief material is not reaching them in some parts of Puri and Khurdha districts of Odisha," the notice read.
The commission stated that "thousands of cyclone-affected people struggling to get food and water came out after four days on the streets on 7 May. The police reportedly resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters".
The NHRC in its notice asked the chief secretary of the Odisha Government to "look into the contents of the news report and take immediate steps to redress the grievance of the general public".
"According to the media reports carried on 8 May, the residents were also angry against the government's move to provide additional 50 kilograms of rice and Rs 2,000 only to families covered by the Food Safety Programme in Puri and Khurdha districts," NHRC notice read.
"The state government has reportedly claimed that cooked food is being provided to the people who are staying in the different buildings being used as shelter homes and community kitchens have also been opened at most slum areas, but as mentioned in the news report, hundreds of residents of Binova Nagar slum area staged a protest and blocked vehicles on the roads," it said.
The NHRC has asked the chief secretary to submit his response within six weeks.
Nearly 6 lakh houses were damaged after the 'extremely severe cyclonic storm' Fani hit Odisha coast in Puri district on 3 May. At least 37 people lost their lives and around 1.48 crore people were affected due to Cyclone Fani, the state government informed on Tuesday.