A month and a half after Cyclone Fani pounded the Puri coast on May 3, 15 families are still living in the primary school at Nirmala village near Pipli. Their thatched houses, blown away in the cyclone, are yet to be rebuilt. “We don’t know where to go once the school reopens after the vacation,” says one of them. Nirmala is just one of the scores of villages in Brahmagiri, Nimapara, Balanga, Satyabadi and Konark areas of Puri district, where the residents, having already endured most of the summer without power, are now bracing for the rains without a proper roof on their heads. While restoration of livelihoods does take a long time, here restoration of something as essential as power is taking too long. Even parts of Puri town, the district headquarters, were yet to get power back even as late as June 18.
“Of the three sub-stations in our area, two have been repaired and work is in progress on the third,” says Bhima Rao, a resident of Penthakata basti in Puri. “We have been told that we shall get power by tonight.” In Balanga area of Brahmagiri block, less than 10 per cent of homes got back power, admits an energy department worker. As one motors through the area, it’s a familiar sight of fallen electric poles and wires strewn all over. In some places, people have assembled poles on their own, but have no idea when they will be erected. “We are running to the electricity office on a daily basis, but no one is telling us how long it will take for the supply to be restored,” says Madhabananda Behera of Balanga village. The absence of power has led to myriad problems, and the heat is the least of them.
Transmission lines being restored in a...
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