Debris litters the floor at a bus stand in Puri on May 5, 2019, after Cyclone Fani swept through the area. (Photo: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

FIVE days after Cyclone Fani battered Odisha, the state government Wednesday (8) hoped that the restoration work in power and telecom sectors would gain momentum from Thursday (9) with more skilled and well-equipped manpower from other states set to join the mammoth operation.

While restoration works were hampered so far due to manpower and equipment crunch, the toll in the cyclone mounted to 41 with officials confirming four more deaths in the Bhubaneswar region.

The highest number of 21 deaths were reported from the worst-hit Puri district, followed by five in Cuttack, four each from Mayurbhanj, Jajpur districts and Bhubaneswar. Kendrapara district reported three deaths, Special relief commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.

Over 5,000 skilled manpower along with proper equipment are on their way to Odisha from states like West Bengal and Telangana. Around 2,500 electricians have already reached the state for restoration of power infrastructure in the cyclone-ravaged areas, an official said.

Chief Secretary A P Padhi informed Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha during a video conference that the overall situation in eight of the affected districts have improved, and power and telecom services were gradually picking up in Puri district and Bhubaneswar.

Landline and mobile phone services in Puri have started improving, Padhi said. Water supply in rural and urban areas has also improved substantially with the help of generators, he said.

“With extra manpower set to join the operations, we will be able to fully restore power supply in Bhubaneswar by May 12. We hope 80 per cent of the electricity consumers will get power by May 10,” Information and Public Relations secretary Sanjay Singh told reporters.

Fani left a trail of destruction ripping apart all the major infrastructure in over 11 coastal districts affecting more than 1.5 crore people. Over 5.08 lakh houses have been damaged in the cyclone which had made a landfall in Puri last Friday.

Singh, who has been assigned the task of managing media and logistics in the post cyclone period, said: “We have to rebuild the power infrastructure afresh in many places of Puri district.”

The official said restoring water supply completely was the first priority of the state.

“We have engaged diesel generators in places for running water pumps where electricity is not available,” he said, adding that certain blocks like Puri and Nimapara had been very severely hit in the calamity.