Cyclone Titli: Odisha Govt grappling to tackle post-cyclone situation in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Even though Odisha government ensured ‘zero’ casualty when cyclone ‘Titli’ struck, lack of preparedness on part of authorities to gauge the impact after its landfall was exposed in a day as most parts of the state are experiencing flood-like situation plus waterlogging that has affected many urban areas following heavy downpour in the last 24 hours.

People in affected pockets particularly in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Balasore, Ganjam alleged that the State government was more concerned in tackling the cyclone while it failed miserably to undertake measures to deal with situation following the heavy rainfall.

Odisha Chief Secretary AP Padhi informed that the State received extremely heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours under the impact of Cyclone Titli.

“It is very difficult to predict and nobody including IMD was able to say that the Cyclone Titli system will move towards Rayagada and we also didn’t expect there will be heavy rainfall in Kandhamal as per weather forecasts. It will not be justified to say there will be floods in which river. However, we are fully prepared to face the situation,” said Padhi.

Padhi further informed that G.Udaygiri block in Kandhamal and Katapada in Cuttack received highest rainfall of over 300 mm in the past 24 hours while 16 blocks received rainfall between 200 to 300 mm. Nearly 60 blocks in Odisha recorded a rainfall between 100 to 200 mm.

“The cyclone is presently around Phulbani and Angul and it will move northwest wards and under its impact heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in northern parts of the State.

This also provided an opportunity to opposition parties to target Odisha government for its inefficiency in tackling post-natural calamity situation.

“Government’s bizarre claim that they were only prepared for Titli not flood speaks volumes about its ignorance in tackling natural calamity,” tweeted BJP spokesperson, Pitambar Acharya.

Though India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted heavy rainfall and issued ‘Red’ and ‘Orange’ alerts from several districts including in coastal areas, no steps were taken to deal with floods and waterlogging in several parts of the State.

The water-level of several major rivers in Ganjam, Gajapati and Balasore has risen considerably and triggered flash floods following incessant rains in the last 24 hours.

According to reports, water is flowing 6 metres above the danger mark in Jalaka river in Balasore district.

Similarly, flood water has entered into Baunsalundi, Jamapalli, Gamundi and several areas in Bhanjanagar of Ganjam district.

Water level in the Bada and Loharakhandi river is also reportedly flowing above the danger mark.

“Even as the cyclone Titli made a landfall early on Thursday, in its impact the State received heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours. No steps were taken to ensure quick discharge of rain water from affected pockets in the city. As a result, the residents were trapped inside the homes due to acute waterlogging conditions since early morning today,” said Prakash Sahu, a resident of Cuttack.

Sahu further alleged that the waterlogging situation was more serious than the flooding that was caused in the month of July this year.

Deputy Mayor, Cuttack, Ajay Barik on the other hand informed that the waterlogging condition assumed serious proportion as the city witnessed more rain than anticipated.

“We have already deployed motor-pumps to dewater several localities that have remained waterlogged,” said Barik.

Not only Cuttack, several localities in Bhubaneswar remained waterlogged even though the municipal corporation authorities claimed to have undertaken several measures to tackle the situation.