Eight days on, Odisha grapples with power outage, protests break out in several areas

ODISHA : The death toll in Cyclone Fani-battered Odisha soared to 43 on Saturday as downed power lines and water scarcity remained elusive in most cyclone-ravaged areas for the eighth day in a row despite the government’s efforts to give restoration a push. Urging to press for quick action, anguished residents staged protests in several places.

While the state government claims that it has restored power and drinking water supplies in urban areas of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack districts, people launched agitations and blocked roads connecting Paradip and Cuttack, and the national highway linking Bhubaneswar with Puri and blamed authorities for lack of basic amenities.

Exactly a week ago, the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone Fani made its landfall near Puri affecting more than 1.5 crore people in 14 districts and destroying all power infrastructure and telecommunication.It has been eight days since the cyclone Fani left a trail of destruction in the state and only half of the over 4.5 lakh electricity consumers in Bhubaneswar have managed to get back the power supply at a time when Odisha is reeling under an intense heat wave.Information and Public Relations Secretary Sanjay Singh said 100 per cent restoration of power supply in Bhubaneswar is expected to be achieved by Sunday. While all power consumers in Cuttack will be able to get electricity on Saturday, restoration work in the worst-hit Puri town will begin on May 12.

PTI quoted senior officials in the state government which informed that police personnel have been deployed to tackle people attempting to attack officials in almost all electricity offices in the coastal districts

Police said a large number of people staged a road blockade near Garage Chhak in the state capital demanding a quick restoration of power supply which was severely hit due to the uprooting of 1.56 lakh electric poles in the city alone. Protesters also tried to attack an office of the Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU), forcing the employees to lock themselves inside.