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Odisha suffers damages of over Rs 11K crore due to Fani

An inter-ministerial team that visited the affected areas said Puri district has sustained extensive damage, be it houses or hotels or means of livelihood, power, water supply. “We will support the Odisha government... The Centre will provide full support to all these sectors.”

india Updated: May 16, 2019 00:00 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar/Puri
cyclone Fani,Odisha,Odisha government
The Odisha government on Wednesday said it suffered damages to its properties worth Rs 11,942 crore due to Cyclone Fani that hit the state on May 3.(AFP File Photo)

The Odisha government on Wednesday said it suffered damages to its properties worth Rs 11,942 crore due to Cyclone Fani that hit the state on May 3.

It has submitted its assessment of the damages to a central team-led by Vivek Bharadwaj, additional secretary in the Union home ministry. The team visited the affected areas on Wednesday.

“This is just preliminary assessment. We will undertake a village-to-village survey to assess the losses. We will prepare a final memorandum by the month end,” said special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.

The state’s energy department has suffered the maximum damage worth Rs 1,159.8 crore as over 1.56 lakh electric poles were blown away or bent by the high winds. Over 2 lakh-km-long electric lines were also damaged.

The forest department that also took the brunt of the cyclone reported damages worth Rs 537 crore, officials said.

The damage assessment, however, does not include the massive losses private properties like hotels, business establishments, and lakhs of houses suffered. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha, which held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, said the hotel industry in Puri and Bhubaneswar have suffered a loss of Rs 500 crore.

Scores of sea-side hotels have suffered massive damages as their glass-panelled doors, windows were shattered and rooms were filled with sand.

An inter-ministerial team that visited the affected areas said Puri district has sustained extensive damage, be it houses or hotels or means of livelihood, power, water supply. “We will support the Odisha government... The Centre will provide full support to all these sectors.”

Praising the efforts of the state government in relief works, Bharadwaj said they were happy the way the state government expedited its efforts for the relief works.

Meanwhile, chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced that each cyclone-hit family in Puri district will get 2.5 litres of kerosene free of cost every 10 days till power supply is restored. Ten lakh candles will also be distributed in the cyclone-ravaged areas of the district.

He also said that every cyclone-hit family will be given 50 kg rice. It will be given to even those without ration cards. Free sanitary pads will also be made available for two months.

In Puri, the cyclone-affected people continued to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone. Rajani Pradhan, a 14-year-old student, said she does not know if her school can reopen anytime soon. “I do not know if I can continue my studies if our house is not repaired. The rains will start in a month,” she said. Around 6,500 schools have been completely or partially damaged by the cyclone. In Puri alone, 2,134 schools have taken the brunt of the cyclone.

In Rebana Nuagaon village, the walls and the roof of the headmaster’s office of the local upper primary school were blown away. “After the cyclone was over, I came to see my school and could not stop crying. It does not look like the school where I studied over 60 years ago,” said ex-soldier Jugal Charan Sendha.

Akshay Pradhan, whose son studies in the same upper primary school, is worried whether the school can stick to its schedule of starting a fresh term when the summer vacation is over next month. “I do not expect the school roof to be repaired anytime soon. Though a part of the school building had a concrete roof, how many students can be accommodated under it? The school headmaster and the teachers do not have any rooms now and all their papers, stationery, and furniture have been blown away by the cyclone,” said Pradhan.

The school’s managing committee member, Prasanna Mohanty, also doubted whether the school could start classes anytime soon. At least half a dozen families, including that of teenager Rajani, whose own houses were destroyed, have taken shelter in the school. “Many of the teachers have also been hit hard by the cyclone with the roofs of their houses blown away. Unless the government makes some quick arrangements, it will be a difficult task to get the school going again,” he said.

At Puri’s Gadarodhanga high school, school headmaster Debendra Baliarsingh estimates the loss to his school to be Rs 15 lakh. A part of the school functioned as a cyclone shelter and has not suffered any damage. As per initial reports, the school and mass education department assessed that Odisha schools have suffered a loss of Rs 417.83 crore, due to the cyclone. More than 2 million children study in these schools.

First Published: May 15, 2019 23:54 IST