19 years since Super Cyclone, Ersama locals stare at harsh realities

Jagatsinghpur: It’s been 19 years since the 1999 Super Cyclone wreaked havoc in the State, situation still remains the same in Ersama block here as the life of locals is yet to return to normalcy. Residents of the worst-affected Dasamatha and Nalabhedi villages under Gadabishunapur panchayat in the block have not received any compensation so far and are struggling to get a pucca house.

The natural calamity left a trail of destruction in the villages and caused irreparable losses to the residents. More than 400 people had lost their lives in the Super Cyclone on October 29, 1999, reports claim.

“We have not received any help from the government yet. Neither there is a proper road in the village nor we have pucca houses to stay,” complained Aditya Mandal, Dasamatha local.

Expressing similar views, another resident of Nalabhedi village said, “Our sorrow state is evident as restoration work is far from satisfactory even after 19 years of the calamity.”

Meanwhile, refuting the charges, Ersama BDO Kailash Behera stated that a lot of development activities were carried out in the villages in recent years.

The residents further alleged that though a Doppler radar has been installed at Paradip, it is non-functional and no alert is being issued prior to any natural calamity.

“It seems the government has not learnt anything from the 1999 Super Cyclone. No concrete steps have been taken to alert people beforehand. The radar set up to give prior information is not functional,” stated Akhaya Parida, a resident of Paradip.

Commenting on the issue, Rohit Shukla, an official of the Paradip Radar Centre, said the radar was not functioning for a few days when maintenance work was being carried out. Otherwise, it functions round the clock, he said.