After Bengal, PM Narendra Modi conducts aerial survey of cyclone Amphan-hit areas in Odisha

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (May 22) arrived in Odisha to conduct an aerial survey of cyclone-affected areas of the state with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Prime Minister was received by CM Patnaik and Governor Ganeshi Lal on arrival at Bhubaneswar Airport.

This is the Prime Minister’s first visit outside the national capital after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed on the midnight of March 24.

Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in Odisha, damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts.

Cyclone Amphan is considered to be the second major cyclone in the Bay of Bengal after the super cyclone of 1999, which had claimed around 10,000 lives in Odisha and devastated vast areas in the state. In 2018, Odisha had rushed men and resources to the southern state of Kerala, which was severely hit by unprecedented floods. The rescue-and-relief teams from Odisha actively took part in the rehabilitation and resettlement of the flood-hit people in Kerala.

45 lakhs people affected; power supply to 34 lakh consumers disrupted in Odisha:

Nearly 45 lakh people in Odisha are affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan, officials said on May 21 as CM Patnaik asked them to submit report on damage to crops and houses within stipulated time. “The cyclone severely damaged houses, standing crops, electrical infrastructure and uprooted trees in many districts. Steps are being taken on a war footing to restore normalcy,” CM Patnaik said.

Stating that manpower and materials have been mobilised for quick restoration of power supply in Amphan-hit areas, the chief minister has said road clearance and connectivity issues will be sorted out by Friday morning.

The extremely severe cyclonic storm, which fiercely rolled past the state’s coast and made a landfall in the Sunderbans in West Bengal on May 20, uprooted trees and flattened fragile dwellings, Chief Secretary AK Tripathy said. The power infrastructure and the farm sector have also suffered considerable damage, while the telecommunication infrastructure is largely intact with minimal impact, he said. It weakened significantly since making the landfall and moving to Bangladesh.

Around 2 lakh evacuees from vulnerable areas, who were shifted to around 3,000 cyclone shelters in Odisha, returned to their homes by May 21 evening.

Horticulture sector has also suffered extensive damage as a large number of betel vines in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Balasore districts have been completely destroyed due to heavy downpour and fierce winds.

Another senior official said electricity supply to 34 lakh consumers, including 1.63 lakh of power distribution company SOUTHCO, 15 lakh of NESCO and 17 lakh of CESU was hit. However, electricity was restored in SOUTHCO areas and in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.