Cyclone Fani aftermath: Many parts of Puri, Khurda still in dark

Puri: Even after 11 days have passed since cyclone Fani made landfall in coastal areas of Odisha, several affected parts of Puri and Khurda districts are yet to receive electricity.  While the state government claimed to have restored about 93 per cent piped water supply in Puri, people are anxiously waiting for the restoration of power supply.

“Restoration of power supply in Puri is a big challenge for us due to large-scale damage to the infrastructure. But we will start supplying power in Puri and Konark towns from May 15,” said Information and Public Relations department Secretary, Sanjay Kumar Singh.

He said 75 towers of 220 kv and 25 towers of 132 kv power lines were damaged by the cyclone.

Apart from Odisha, skilled workers from other states, including West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana and Kerala, have been engaged in restoration of power supply in the district.

Senior Engineer of Central Electricity and Supply Utility, PK Sahoo said, “Almost 4000 people are working day and night. We will try our best to restore electricity within 8 to 10 days. We are working in Puri on priority basis and will try to restore power in Badadanda by tomorrow.”

Telecom services are also in poor shape and the service providers have restored only 42 per cent connectivity in Puri.

Airtel had positioned six ‘cell on wheels’ in Puri, while Reliance Jio has set up three and Vodafone-Idea one, Singh said. Out of 41 telephone exchanges of the BSNL, 29 are functional in the district, he added.

Even though the State government had assured that 100 per cent power will be restored in Bhubaneswar by May 12, many slums and areas on the outskirts are yet to get power supply.

In Jaripatna and Kalarahanga villages located on the outskirts of the capital city, villagers are pooling in money to buy electricity poles on their own to expedite restoration. Power is yet to be restored in places like Dhauli and Kalinganagar as well.

“We went to the junior engineer who assured us that work will be finished within 3 to 4 days, but nothing has been done yet,” said a resident of Biseswar slum in Bhubaneswar.

While 90 per cent area of Jatni is still without electricity, only 60 per cent people in Khurda have been given electricity connection.

“Power restoration work has just started in the area and it seems it is going to take a very long time,” another Jatni resident said.