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Long wait for power in Odisha after Cyclone Fani snaps transmission lines

Power cut: A high tension tower brought down by Cyclone Fani on the Marine Drive in Puri.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Hot and humid weather has compounded the woes of the cyclone-affected people in Odisha, with the government facing a gigantic task of restoring power to houses in Puri and Khurdha districts battered by Fani.

Despite massive efforts by the State government, total power restoration is likely to be completed in Bhubaneswar only by May 15. Around that time residents of Puri too may start getting power.

The extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ has damaged 75 high power transmission towers while 84,000 km low tension power lines have been found either broken or sagging. Over 11,000 distribution transformers were damaged.

Massive damage

“The power infrastructure has suffered massive damage. To bring it back to its earlier shape, it will take two months, but we are focusing on emergency restoration system, which will be completed in a fortnight,” State Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma told The Hindu here on Thursday.

“The challenge is enormous. Two lakh electric poles have been damaged by the cyclone. Of the two lakh, one lakh will have to be replaced completely while another one lakh are repairable. The State had a stock of 80,000 poles in different districts while 20,000 poles were obtained from ongoing programmes,” said Mr. Sharma.

“The Steel Authority of India Limited has made a commitment to provide 60,000 poles in phases while 30,000 poles have to be procured from different manufacturers in the State. There is a shortfall of about 10,000 which are part of lift irrigation points and that can be taken up at a later stage,” said the Energy Secretary.

The State government has set up four temporary workshops at Puri to procure raw materials used in electrification. Another difficulty being faced in the restoration exercise is manpower crunch. “Ideally, 1,000 gangs (each consisting of 10 members) should have been deployed for restoring power. We have been able to deploy 500 gangs who have mostly come from outside Odisha,” he said.

Contractors warned

“There are 644 high tension licensee contractors in Odisha. Of them, only 100 have joined the cyclone restoration. We have issued warning that if they fail to join the force in 10 days, their licence would be cancelled,” he said. Requests were sent to West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala to get a labour force of 2,700.

By Thursday, 61,000 power consumers have been provided electricity which is about 32% of the total consumers. The Energy Secretary said the target was to restore power inside Bhubaneswar by May 12.

Meanwhile, people are facing a tough time with the daytime temperature crossing 40 degree Celsius at several places.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 2:01:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/long-wait-for-power-in-odisha-after-cyclone-fani-snap-transmission-lines/article27084362.ece

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