May 3 Cyclone ‘Fani’ : Darkness Still Engulfs Puri, Locals Seething In Anger

Bhubaneswar: Though thirteen days have elapsed since cyclone ‘Fani’ pulverized the State, darkness continues to engulf all across the worst-affected Puri district with electricity eluding the cyclone affected residents.

Puri was ravaged the most with cyclone Fani making landfall in the coastal district. The State government agencies are facing daunting task to restore power infrastructure in the worst-hit district with cyclone triggering colossal damage to it.

The entire power infrastructure in Puri district has been devastated in the cyclone which damaged 75 towers of 220 KV and 25 towers of 132 KV, official sources said, adding that the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has been entrusted to rebuild the 220 KV towers in the district. One 132 KV tower has been damaged on Chandaka-Puri road. It will be restored by ERS. As some of the broken towers are located in water logged areas, it required more time for restoration, said senior officials.

We are trying our level best to resume power supply in the grand road area of Puri town by today evening. The rest of the pilgrim town is likely to be electrified in a day or two. It will take at least a week’s period for restoration of power supply to other parts of the cyclone-hit district, added the official.

Notwithstanding the government’s officials’ claim of speedy restoration of power, residents of Puri which bore maximum brunt of catastrophic cyclonic storm are not in a mood to believe governmental commitment.

Seething in anger, people have hit the streets in several places giving vent to their angry reaction against what they said lethargic post-cyclone governmental restoration work.

Almost a fortnight is about to go by after the cyclone’s strike. But things (power supply) are not moving an inch. Twisted electric poles remain as it was 13 days back. We have lost faith in the governmental agencies. Unless power is restored in next 48 hours, people will definitely take law unto their hands. Major law and order situation is bound to flare up in Puri, said a resident of Puri town, Sagar Mohapatra.

Puri is being treated like a step child. Like Puri, power infrastructure in Bhubaneswar was equally damaged. But power supply has been restored in Bhubaneswar as it home to ministers, politicians, bureaucrats and influential people. It’s insensitivity on part of government to leave the Puri people to bear the brunt of gruelling heat and humidity, observed another local, Prabhudatta Acharya from Basuleisahi of Puri town.