The devastation caused by Cyclone Fani in Odisha is massive and it will take several months for life to return to normalcy even as the death toll rose to 37. On Tuesday, the Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government sought the Centre’s help in restoration power and telecom services in Puri and Khurda districts, worst hit by Cyclone Fani, because of the shortage of skilled manpower, an official said. The state has to install as many as 1.56 lakh electric poles.
According to an official, the toll in the cyclone, which hit the state Friday, rose to 37 on Tuesday with two more death reported in Cuttack district as the struggle to restore power, drinking water and telecom infrastructure continued.
Chief Secretary AP Padhi said though the state government has been able to restore water supply in Puri and Bhubaneswar by using diesel generators, it has been an uphill task to provide electricity to people in view of massive destruction of power infrastructure. Padhi said Odisha has requested the Centre to send 5,000 skilled manpower from neighbouring West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“We have sought the Centre’s help in providing skilled manpower to assist Odisha in restoration of electricity supply in the worst cyclone-hit districts of Puri and Khurda,” Chief Secretary AP Padhi told reporters after meeting with Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha via video conference.
These people will be deployed in erecting electric poles and draw wire on them which would facilitate the state to restore power supply in a time-bound manner, he said. However, the Odisha chief secretary did not give any timeline for restoration of electricity service.
“I am not certain when exactly all areas will be provided electricity supply. We have already started the process of providing power to the consumers in a phased manner. In view of the massive destruction, one cannot give a timeline,” Padhi said.
As many as 21 people lost their lives in Puri, five deaths were reported from Cuttack, four each from Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts. Kendrapara district reported three deaths, Special relief commissioner (SRC) BP Sethi said.