Tourism limping back to normalcy in Cyclone Fani-ravaged Satapada

Puri: Almost one-and-half months after extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani ravaged the serene and sublime Satapada area on Chilika lake in Puri district, tourism continues to limp back to normalcy in the coastal town.

In view of the rise in inflow of tourists, local boatmen have either borrowed money or taken loans to repair their damaged boats within a short period of time to help tourists enjoy the beauty of the sea-mouth, Rajhans Island beach and hundreds of Irrawaddy dolphins which rule the waters of the lagoon.

Local vendors too are also trying the best to pick up their lost business. The dozens of makeshift shops, establishments which were completely destroyed in the cyclonic storm, are once again raising their heads.

“We had planned to visit Chilika last month, but could not come due to cyclone Fani. We came here today after learning from TV that things are gradually improving here. We enjoyed a lot,” said another tourist Prakash Chandra Nayak.

Meanwhile, local vendors and boatmen have claimed that Chilika would get its irresistible beauty back only when the State government takes proactive steps in connection with the matter.

“Our business was completely hit as cyclone Fani had destroyed almost everything here. We had to shut down our shops and lose our livelihood but as tourists are also coming here slowly, we are also ready to rebuild,” said Adarsh Jali, a local tea-stall owner.

But even as situation is slowly normalising in the area, delay in restoration of electricity has created problems for tourists and local residents.

People living in the coastal area have alleged government apathy in relief and restoration works.

Abinash, a member of Satapada Boat Association, said, “Except a handful of boats, everyone including the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) have suffered losses to boats during the cyclone. However, we have managed to help the tourists bring back to the area with lot of efforts. Now we only hope that government lends a helping hand to promote the tourism here.”