People along coast praying against repeat of cyclone fury in October

Berhampur: Left shaken by the fury of cyclonic storms that hit them in back-to-back years, people living along the Ganjam coast are taking no chances this year and are even invoking the sea god to avoid another devastating October although officials here have ruled out any cyclone.

It was at this time in the last two years that the cyclones Phailin and Hudhud hit the area.

“The devastation wreaked by Phailin still haunts us,” said P Krishan, a fisherman in New Boxipalli.

“We have brought boats and nets from the beach to our house apprehending cyclone or tsunami,” added S Mohan of Podampeta.

People of Podampeta and New Podampeta offered prayers to the sea yesterday to keep cyclones at bay.

Markandi, Kirtipur, New Boxipalli, Boxipalli, Laudigaon, Hatipadu and some other villages did so on Monday.

“There will be no cyclone or tsunami if the sea god is pleased with us,” said S Appa Rao of Kirtipur.

The district administration, however, has ruled out any cyclone.

“There is no cyclone warning so far. People need not fear,” Ganjam collector PC Chaudhary said.

“We have no instruction from the government about any possibility of cyclone or tsunami,” said Inspector In-Charge of marine police station, Arjeepalli, Rabindra Patra.

He, however, said that the sea was rough at present.

Phailin, which had claimed 17 lives, had made landfall near Gopalpur on October 13, 2013.

Last year, Hudhud had made landfall near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on October 12 and caused damage in Gajapati district while sparing Ganjam.

Social campaigner Mangaraj Panda, who works with marine fishermen, said people might have become panicky this year because the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, fire department and police conducted a mock drill on September 25 for cyclone preparedness.

Posters were also put up on the dos and don’ts during such natural disasters.