A month after cyclone Fani, 1.64 lakh families still in dark

Bhubaneswar: More than five lakh people of 1.64 lakh households in Odisha’s coastal districts continue to struggle with hot and humid weather conditions due to lack of power restoration though one month has passed since the cyclone Fani made landfall near Puri on May 3.

The worst affected was Puri district where only 1,51,889 out of 2,91,171 affected electricity consumers (52 per cent) have got back power so far, an official said adding, Fani had completely damaged power infrastructure in the district.

The cyclone had affected a total of 1.65 crore people in 14 districts of the state.

At least 64 persons including 39 from Puri district alone were killed in the calamity.

The official said of the total 25,01,131 affected electricity consumers, power has been restored to 23,36,584 consumers.

The affected districts were Angul, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri, Nayagarh, Khurda, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur.

There has been significant improvement in the drinking water, banking, telecom and other services in the cyclone-hit areas.

Odisha’s school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash, who hails from Puri district, said the authorities have been asked to repair the schools as the summer vacation will be over on June 19.

The minister said all out efforts are being made to restore power in the rural areas of Puri district.

“Though we have set a target to complete power restoration work within June, no specific date can be fixed,” a senior official of the power department said.

Meanwhile, special relief commissioner B P Sethi in a letter to the collectors of cyclone-hit districts said that the ground report on the number of houses damage should be made keeping in mind the actual damage of houses.

“If you are recommending X amount of money for a damaged house, will it be sufficient for a hapless person, whose house has been damaged due to super storm Fani?” Sethi asked in the letter.

The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) have already announced the amount of assistance for damaged houses during disaster for the period 2015-2020.

For fully damaged and destroyed houses in the plains, Rs 95,100 has been allotted per house and Rs 1,01,900 has been allotted per house in the hilly areas.

Meanwhile, an inter-ministerial central team visited Odisha from May 12 to 15 and conducted an on the spot assessment of the damages caused due to the cyclone.

A preliminary report of damage amounting to Rs 11,942.68 crore was shared with the central team, an official said.