People from the poorer sections have decided to cancel their trip to Puri this time

Cyclone Phailin has hit the plans of people of Ganjam district and Berhampur who head to Puri for observation of the month-long ‘Kartik vrat’ every year.

While the number of persons visiting the religious city of Puri has swelled among the middle classes, the persons from families who got devastated by the cyclone decided to cancel the trip this year. Meanwhile, a large number of people decided to opt for the ‘Kartik vrat’ in Puri to escape the hardship of life in their cyclone-hit native places.

Usually, out of traditional belief people from this area have a month-long stay in the city of Puri to take up ritualistic penance during the month of Kartik. Usually, elderly persons and widows prefer to make this religious trip to Puri. But this time the aftermath of the cyclone has compelled many to take up this journey for the month-long Kartik vrat.

Better alternative

“At least by sending them to Puri, where there is electricity and better amenities I can be sure about better life for my parents during this tiring time after the cyclone,” said Manish Mohapatra, a resident of Berhampur, who hired a room in Puri to send his parents to the holy city for the Kartik vrat. Through it he wants to save his parents from hardship and is hopeful that by the end of Kartik the restoration work would make the cyclone-hit areas liveable. Meanwhile, some well-to-do families of rural areas also preferred to do the same. But the poor who have got their houses and properties completely devastated have decided to cancel their regular month-long trips to Puri during Kartik. Suna Dei, a poor widow living in a slum in the city, said: “Every year I used to have my Kartik vrat in Puri but this time the cyclone has become a spoilsport as I feel it is my duty to look after my devastated house, daughter-in-law and toddler granddaughter during this hardship”.

There are also several families from a good economic background who have started sending their family members to their relatives living in other districts which have not been affected by Cyclone Phailin.