Cyclone Fani: Authorities struggle to restore essential services due to lack of manpower in Odisha

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Published: May 7, 2019 7:21:37 PM

The all-India NEET examination has also been postponed for Odisha students, Patnaik said in the letter.

Though train services resumed from the state capital Bhubaneswar on Sunday, the East Coast Railways Tuesday announced it has cancelled seven trains, including Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Express, Chennai-Santragachi Suvidha Express, Neelachal Express and Puri-Shalimar Express.

Four days after extremely severe cyclone Fani hammered Odisha and damaged its infrastructure, authorities on Tuesday struggled to restore essential services like water supply, electricity and telecommunication due to an acute shortage of skilled manpower. The state government needs to replace 1.5 lakh electric poles uprooted by high-velocity wind of about 200kmph in coastal districts, officials said. “Everything is dependent on power supply.

If there is no electricity, the filling stations cannot operate even though they have enough stock of petrol and diesel,” said Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, who is visiting the cyclone-ravaged areas of Puri district to assess the damage. The cyclone that made landfall near Puri on Friday has claimed at least 35 lives in Odisha. On Tuesday, the state government started relief distribution in Bhubaneswar and Puri even as people cried for drinking water. High humidity level, above 90 per cent in coastal districts, has compounded their miseries.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday asked his administration officials to expedite relief and restoration activities in other districts such as Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts, as well. “Relief, rehabilitation and restoration work is in progress on a war footing. We are trying our best to bring normalcy at the earliest,” said Sangram Mohapatra, the spokesperson of the special relief commissioner. In a letter written to Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, Patnaik has urged the Centre to extend the registration date for the JEE (advanced) for admission in IITs. Students have to register themselves online between May 3 to May 9 and with the telecommunication lines severed it’s become difficult for them to do that. “As you are aware, the extremely severe cyclone FANI has hit Odisha on May 3, 2019, which disrupted mobile and data connectivity in many districts.

Due to non-availability of internet at many locations in Odisha after Fani, the brilliant Odia students have not been able to register their names online for the examination. IIT, Roorke is the organizing Institute for the JEE (Advanced) Examination this year,” Patnaik wrote to Javadekar. It is necessary to extend the registration date by at least 10 days. The all-India NEET examination has also been postponed for Odisha students, Patnaik said in the letter. The administration requires 10,000 manpower to restore normalcy in Puri in a week’s time. “But, we have so far got 4,000 people for Puri,” said Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma.

In absence of essential services, many people, mostly students and elderly persons, have started leaving the state capital for other districts. “There is rush at the bus stand as people return to their villages,” said Odisha Private Bus Owners Association secretary Tusharkant Acharya. He said 400 buses are plying in the state, but more are required to meet the spurt in demand after the cyclone. Bus services have resumed on 80 per cent routes as national highways and state highways.

Though train services resumed from the state capital Bhubaneswar on Sunday, the East Coast Railways Tuesday announced it has cancelled seven trains, including Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Express, Chennai-Santragachi Suvidha Express, Neelachal Express and Puri-Shalimar Express.

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