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Sans Power, Water and Cash since Cyclone Fani Hit Odisha, Bhubaneswar Sees Temporary Reverse Migration

The situation in the nearby beach town of Puri that houses the famed Jagannath temple is even worse. The cyclone had made the landfall near Puri and the town has been the worst hit.

Anand ST Das | News18

Updated:May 6, 2019, 8:42 PM IST
Sans Power, Water and Cash since Cyclone Fani Hit Odisha, Bhubaneswar Sees Temporary Reverse Migration
File photo of the damaged railway station in Puri.
Bhubaneswar: After sticking to the capital for three days since cyclone Fani unleashed its fury across the state’s coastal belt, Lambodara Swain finally decided on Monday to shift his family of five to his native village in Debagarh district.

“But there are several hurdles in executing this decision as well, as trains and buses have not yet started running normally,” says Swain, 40, who works with a multinational company that makes electronic goods.

“If I do not shift my ageing mother, my wife and our two young daughters out of Bhubaneswar immediately, life for them will turn worse,” adds Swain, who lives in the Mahadeb Nagar area of the state capital.

Like Swain, hundreds of people working and living in Bhubaneswar are busy relocating their families to their native places as the city struggled to restore electricity and telephone communication lines since the cyclone ripped through the coastal areas of the state on May 3.

Absence of electricity means dark nights and sweltering heat as fans and air-conditioners have stopped working.

Water supply across Bhubaneswar has also taken a hit since May 3. While several apartment buildings have made arrangements for generators to lift underground water and supply the same to their residents, scarcity of diesel has prompted them to encourage residents to leave for their native residence for a few days and return after the situation gets back to normal.

“We have been waiting since morning with our pots to get water, but it is evening now, and no water tanker from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has come so far,” said a woman at Saliasahi, the city’s largest slum.

Hundreds of men and women from this slum were seen waiting on the road for water tankers on Monday evening. A BMC official said efforts were being made to ensure every household got water.

ATMs and petrol pumps are witnessing unprecedentedly long queues since early morning till late in the night.

While most ATMs have been lying defunct due to the absence of power, the few that are open have reported cash shortage after the first few hours in the day, leaving people frustrated.

At refueling stations, distribution of fuel to hundreds of people every hour continuously has posed strains on the staff.

“We are working overtime to cater to the needs of the city’s residents. Due to power shortage, we are unable to operationalise all the pumps that we have. Some of our staff have also left for their homes in the districts as their families have suffered in the cyclone,” said Jitu Panda, who works at a large refueling station at Kalpana Square.

Without enough cash in hand, Bhubaneswar residents have also been unable to buy food articles. While most grocery shops and restaurants have remained shut since May 3, the few that are open do not have adequately supply of much-needed items like packaged milk.

The situation in the nearby beach town of Puri that houses the famed Jagannath temple is even worse. The cyclone had made the landfall near Puri and the town has been the worst hit.

Hundreds of houses were torn apart by the cyclones. Of the 34 people killed in Odisha in the cyclone, at least 12 hailed from Puri.

Various departments of the Odisha government have been working overnight to first restore electricity supply to people’s homes, utilities and business centres. Officials said it would take at least 15 days before normalcy returns to the city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas of Odisha on Monday and offered central aid of Rs 1,000 crore on top of the Rs 381 crore the Centre had earlier announced for the state.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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