JAGATSINGHPUR: Even as 17 years have passed ever since the Super Cyclone of 1999 claimed 587 lives in Jagatsinghpur, the district is yet to get adequate number of cyclone shelters. There are 150 seaside villages in the district that are without cyclone shelters.
Few years back, the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur had conducted a survey and informed the State Government that 122 more cyclone shelters are required in Jagatsinghpur district.
However, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) did not take any action on the survey report.
The district has 593 cyclone shelters including 26 multi-purpose shelters and eight flood shelters. Of those, many are in a bad shape and may not be able to serve the purpose for which they were built.
The multi-purpose cyclone shelters and flood shelters were constructed by OSDMA with the help from the experts of IIT-Kharagpur. The buildings were designed to withstand wind speed up to 300 kmph and moderate earthquakes.
Those were built above high flood line to remain safe from high sea tide. Most of the shelters, in the absence of periodic repair and maintenance, are lying in a dilapidated condition though the area experiences flood every year.
Wide cracks have developed in roofs while the walls leak even during slightest rain. The shelters were constructed after the Super Cyclone that killed thousands in the district.
But after 17 years of the natural disaster, not much money has been spent by the State Government for maintenance of these shelters.
At present, 150 cyclone shelters are in urgent need of repair. Erasama BDO, Subodha Acharya said a proposal was sent to the State Government for construction of another 16 cyclone shelters in Erasama last year and funds were placed with the Rural Development for construction of only three shelters at Dahibar, Sahadabedi and Sailo Bhajakhia villages.
However, construction of only two cyclone shelters is being undertaken now.
Chief General Manager of OSDMA, Kamal Lochan Mishra said as per the survey report of IIT-Khargpur and feasibility, OSDMA has already started construction of cyclone shelters in many seaside villages. The OSDMA will seek intervention of IIT-Bhubaneswar for a fresh survey on requirement of cyclone shelters in the district.