Cyclone Phailin forces tourists to vacate hotels in Gopalpur and Puri

Written by Press Trust of India | Puri/Gopalpur(Odisha) | Updated: Oct 12 2013, 23:12pm hrs
Two important tourist destinations of Gopalpur and Puri in Odisha today saw visitors leaving in droves because of fear of Cyclone Phailin striking tomorrow.

All hotels, particularly those near the sea, at Puri were being vacated with tourists moved to safer places, official sources said.

Similarly in Gopalpur, where Cyclone Phailin would make landfall and 15 feet waves were expected, hotels were being vacated, the sources said.

Ganjam collector Krishna Kumar, who personally monitored the evacuation said "We will ensure that no one stays within 10 kilometre from the coast."

Cyclone Phailin caused further mayhem as electricity was disconnected in Gopalpur area plunging the town into darkness.

At Puri, a tour operator Jugabrat Kar said keeping the safety of tourists including foreigners, in mind against possible devastation by Cyclone Phailin, those in 400 hotels, including 200 on the beach, were being moved out.

The tourists were being taken to bus and taxi stands and the railway station and efforts were being made to send them to Bhubaneswar.

A a data-base of volunteers was prepared and several houses in the town identified to accommodate the tourists.

Although some were unwilling to move out, efforts were being made to convince them, a senior officer said.

The administration also started announcements to vacate thatched and mud houses in the vulnerable areas.

An interesting aspect of Puri was that people there were optimistic that like 1999 super cyclone, this time too the pilgrim town would be spared by Cyclone Phailin.

The town, also known as 'Sankha Kshetra', was unaffected in 1999 though adjoining areas were battered giving rise to belief of divine intervention.