Cyclone 'Fani' has caused extensive damage to telecommunications and power infrastructure in Puri, Bhubaneswar and some other areas of Odisha, while rail and air connectivity to the state is getting restored Saturday, the Centre said. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, reviewed rescue and relief operations in cyclone-hit areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, a day after the 'extremely severe cyclone' made a landfall in Odisha.
"Odisha informed that extensive damage to telecommunications and power infrastructure had been caused in Puri, Bhubaneswar and other areas. However, due to advance precautionary measures taken and large scale evacuation, the loss of human lives was minimal," an official statement said. The West Bengal government has reported mild impact of the cyclone, while the Andhra Pradesh government informed about heavy rainfall and some damage to crops and roads in Srikakulam district.
The railways has cleared the mainline and would start part of operations using diesel operated locomotives by Saturday. Flights to Bhubaneswar also resumed operations this afternoon, according to the statement. The cabinet secretary directed the Ministry of Power and Department of Telecommunications to immediately assist the Odisha government by providing electrical poles, gang workmen and diesel generator sets of varying capacities for quick restoration of power supply. The transmission line supplying power to Bhubaneswar is expected to be restored by Saturday.
The Department of Telecommunications indicated that mobile services would also be restored partially. No damage to ports and refinery installations was reported, the statement said. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has moved 16 additional teams, comprising about 45 personnel in each, for rescue and relief work in Odisha and has removed fallen trees and other obstacles on most of the roads.
The Union Health Ministry has decided to postpone the NEET exam in Odisha scheduled for May 5 based on the advice of Odisha government. It is also moving teams of public health experts to assist the state government in preventing outbreak of any epidemic. Reviewing the relief efforts, the cabinet secretary directed that officials of central ministries and agencies should remain in close touch with the Odisha government and provide all required assistance expeditiously. Enough supplies of food, medicines, drinking water and other essential supplies have been kept in readiness to be airlifted as per the requirements projected by the states.
The Railways and Civil Aviation ministries have made arrangements for free transportation of relief material to the cyclone affected areas, the statement said. The chief secretaries and principal secretaries of the Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal governments participated in the NCMC meeting through video conference. Senior officials from the PMO, ministries of home, defence, shipping, civil aviation, railways, petroleum, power, telecommunications, steel, drinking water and sanitation, food processing, health, fisheries, IMD, NDMA and the NDRF also attended the meeting.
(With inputs from agencies.)