Cyclone Titli aftermath: 12 killed, 4 missing in landslide in Gajapati

Gajapati: As many as 12 persons including five children lost their lives while four others went missing due to a landslide following incessant rain triggered by Cyclonic storm Titli in Barghara village under Gangabada panchayat under Rayagada block in Gajapati district on Friday.

The deceased were identified as Dandapani Bhuyan, Sumitra Bhuyan, Somanath Kathren, Jagan Kathi, Minakshi Shabar, Gangadhara Behera, Dinesh Bhuyan, Lalu Behera, Jayachandra Bhutan, Suramati Jani and Champa Bhutan.

Four villagers, who are still missing in the landslide incident, have been identified as Kati Bhuyan, Basanti Bhuyan, Basumati Bhuyan and Bishambara Shabara.

As per reports, the landslide has caused major damages in Barighara and some other nearby villages.

“It is confirmed that 12 persons have died in the landslide,” said Antaryami Gamang, chairman of the Special Development Council.

“Four to five houses damaged in the landslide and some villagers were swept away in the river. Identity of 12 bodies has been established. Besides this, I have already talked to Gajapati Collector and SP who assured that they would undertake a spot visit,” said Dhaleswara Bhuyan, chairperson of Rayagada block.

Meanwhile, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said Gajapati SP and Collector will visit the spot today and take stock of the situation.

“After post mortem of the bodies, financial assistance will be provided to the kin of the deceased as per the government provisions,” said Sethi.

On the other hand, BJP has targetted the State government alleging that the Gajapati district administration failed to reach out to people waiting to be rescued.

“17 persons have died at four locations of Gajapati district. In Rayagada block, 14 have died whereas two persons were killed in Gosani block and one in Kashinagar. The administration is yet to reach the spot. The mishap occurred while the victims were waiting in a cave for the rescue team. Following the incident, doubts being raised whether the Gajapati administration is functioning or not,” questioned BJP’s State general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra.

Former MP Baijayant Panda expressed his concern over the incident and tweeted, “While CM did not respond to my appeal to open hangar with three helicopters (sealed by the State government on flimsy grounds) and my offer to fly recue and relief sorties. News of 12 dead & 5 trapped in Cyclone Titli hit Gajapati district when cave they sheltered in collapsed.”

 

Commenting on the matter, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said “I have heard about the landslide and awaiting a detailed report. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have perished in the incident.”

Earlier today, controversy surfaced after Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro denied information about the incident.

“I don’t have any information about the incident. I have personally spoken with the District Collector, Deputy Collector, party workers, president, MLA and ex-MLA who claim everything to be fine. There might be incidents of blown roof-tops and uprooting of trees due to strong wind and rain which is a common thing.”

“You should thank Naveen Patnaik for taking such steps,” Patro added.