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State lends helping hand to Fani-hit Odisha

State lends helping hand to Fani-hit Odisha

Kolkata: West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) has provided manpower to the Odisha government for restoration of power infrastructure, which was hugely destroyed due to the impact of cyclone Fani.

The cyclone storm had hit 14 districts of Odisha and Puri was adversely affected with massive destruction. Even parts of the 12th century Shree Jagannath temple were damaged.

"Two of our superintendent engineers leading a team of 10 engineers and nearly 600 field-level workers, who work for West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

Company Limited, are working in tandem with their counterpart in Odisha for restoration of power connectivity. It has been a week since they have been working and as per feedback it will take another five to six days to complete the restoration work," a senior official of state electricity distribution company said.

According to the official, after innumerable electrical poles were uprooted due to the impact of the cyclonic storm, the Odisha government wrote to state Chief Secretary Malay De seeking requisition for 4000 electric poles.

De spoke to the chairman of State Electricity Distribution Company Rajesh Pandey and accordingly arrangements were made to provide electrical poles to Odisha.

However, after a few days, the Odisha government wrote to the state government to inform that they required manpower for restoration work instead of electrical poles.

Pandey spoke to his counterpart in Odisha and accordingly assistance was provided to the neighboring state.

"We are lucky that the wind speed was much lesser than what was predicted by the Meteorological department. The Bengal coastline did not suffer any serious damage. The loss of power infrastructure that the state suffered was fixed within 48 hours. We felt that it is our duty to stand by our neighboring state," a senior WBSEDCL official said.

A three-member team from West Bengal Radio Club, an organisation of ham radio enthusiasts, were instrumental in helping the Odisha government to communicate with people in the remote areas after the infrastructure supporting communication through mobiles phones was completely destroyed. "Through us the Odisha government was able to find out the extent of damage and accordingly relief materials were sent to the affected people," said Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary of WBRC.

The team comprising Abhradip Das, Arunava Dey and Gobinda Gharami had reached Puri a day before the cyclone and worked tirelessly for seven days.

They returned only when telephone connections were restored. A three-member ham radio team also came from Hyderabad and worked to establish connectivity in unison with the team from state.

West Bengal Radio Club has been working with the state government for disaster management for the past few years.

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