Nis­arga leaves trail of dam­age in Maha

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Tanushree Venka­tra­man let­ters@hin­dus­tan­


MUM­BAI: In Sha­habaj vil­lage, 17km from Alibaug, 28-year-old Ash­wini Bha­gat and her hus­band Tan­may are sur­vey­ing the dam­age to the roof. Res­i­dents of Mum­bai, they vis­ited their vil­lage two months ago and were forced to stay back af­ter the na­tional lock­down on March 25.

Last week, a se­vere cy­clonic storm made land­fall around 100 km south of Alibaug, an elite re­sort town and fish­ing vil­lage in Ma­ha­rash­tra’s coastal district of Raigad. At least 500,000 homes, in­clud­ing Bha­gats’ vil­lage home, have been dam­aged by Nis­arga in Raigad alone though a red alert was sounded for seven Konkan dis­tricts as well as a few in north­ern Ma­harsh­tra. At least 5,000 hectares in Pal­ghar, and 8,000 hectares of agri­cul­tural crop­land in Rat­na­giri, Sind­hudurg, Raigad and Nashik among other dis­tricts have been af­fected, in­clud­ing farms grow­ing onions and grapes.

“We have been liv­ing with­out power or wa­ter sup­ply for four days now,” Bha­gat said. “Of­fi­cials say it will take min­i­mum four days for power sup­ply to be re­stored,” Tan­may said.

On Friday, CM Uddhav Thackeray vis­ited ar­eas of Alibag and an­nounced ₹100 crore for im­me­di­ate re­lief work. The Ma­ha­rash­tra State Elec­tric­ity Dis­tri­bu­tion Co Ltd said it is work­ing on a war-foot­ing to re­store elec­tric­ity.

The day be­fore the cy­clone was to make land­fall, the state evac­u­ated sev­eral thou­sand from the coast­line, in­clud­ing 13, 245 in Raigad and 15,080 in Pal­ghar. So while de­struc­tion to life has been min­i­mal -- six died, and 16 in­jured -- dam­age to mo­bile tow­ers, trees and power has been tremen­dous.

In Thal, 8km from Alibag, Mukund Sapre has lost an acre of his farm, com­pletely de­stroy­ing co­conut trees, ba­nana and be­tel nut plan­ta­tions. “My mother said she has not seen some­thing this bad in her life. We could see the trees mov­ing in cir­cles be­fore they col­lapsed. It was scary,” said 29-year-old Jay­datta Nikalje, res­i­dent of Vaib­hav Na­gar in Alibag.

Till Friday, the Nikalje fam­ily had lost power sup­ply. “Parts of the town started get­ting sup­ply only by Satur­day morn­ing,” said Nikalje, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional.

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