The police on Saturday arrested 29 persons in flood-affected Khurda district for blocking road, obstructing relief operations and clashing with the police.
“They pelted stones, set a multi-utility vehicle on fire and obstructed Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel engaged in relief and rescue operation,” district superintendent of police DN Gochayat said.
The arrested persons were among the 400 cyclone and flood victims who blocked a national highway on Friday evening near Ugratara village in the district, more than 50 km east of Bhubaneswar.
The victims were demanding relief and when the police tried to remove the roadblock, the irate victims clashed with the latter. The police resorted to mild baton charge to disperse them.
The arrested persons were found to be instigating the mob, a police official said.
The villagers, meanwhile, alleged that more than 25 persons, including some women, sustained injuries during the police action. “The administration evacuated us before Cyclone Phailin but did not provide enough relief material when we returned. Now the heavy rain has made our lives miserable with no official help in sight,” said one of the protestors, Usha Rout.
Cyclone Phailin hit Odisha on the night of October 12, with a wind speed of more than 200 km per hour. It disrupted communication system and power supply in all affected districts. A day later, the waning cyclone caused heavy rain and triggered floods in northern districts.
Around 1.2 crore people in 17 districts of Odisha were affected due to the cyclone and flood. The rain of the last five days have added to the people’s misery.