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Mahuva/Bhavnagar: On top of the already deadly COVID-19 pandemic, people living in coastal towns such as Mahuva in Bhavnagar district have been dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Tauktae that upended the state’s coastal belt four days ago.

 The town has been struggling to restore its power supply and a number of villages have been cut off, with fallen trees blocking most of the roads.

It will take the residents a minimum of 20 days just to recover their belongings, rebuild their homes and salvage what is left of their lives prior to Tauktae’s landfall.

 But, the financial and economic recovery of the region may take months and even with the government’s assistance, there is no telling how much it can bounce back from the natural calamity.

Four days on, and the power supply has still not been restored in Mahuva town.

“People were deprived of drinking water on May 18-19 but with assistance from the district administration, a 200 megawatt generator was installed on May 20, which is being used to fill overhead water tanks for distribution within the town.

Also, 20 tankers have been pressed in for water distribution. It will take at least two to three days more for the power supply to be restored in the town,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Mahuva RC Makwana.

“We are lucky that our taluka has reported no casualties, but the economic loss is very high, especially for the agricultural sector.

The coconut trees have been uprooted thereby washing out any coconut sales and the onion crop has also been spoiled. However, if the crop is dried early, it can be used by dehydration plants, which may fetch the farmers a maximum of Rs100 for 20 kg.

This may at least help them meet their production costs, otherwise it will be a total loss for them,” he explained.

According to the primary estimation of the state agriculture department, standing crops sown on 47,000 hectare of land across the district have been completely devastated.

The crops that have been affected by the cyclone include onion, coconut, mango, sesame, millet and groundnut in Mahuva, Palitana, Talaja and Jesar taluka are affected.

Recounting the fury of cyclonic winds, Makwana added, “I have never witnessed nature’s wrath like this before. The velocity of winds was 220 kmph which blew away the roofs of hundreds of homes. While the town of Mahuva may recover from the calamity, the villages will take a longer time to get back to normal.”

Talking about power supply at hospitals in the taluka, the MLA said, “Power supply has been restored at the designated COVID-19 hospital run at Kalsar village by the Sadbhavna Trust.

But, the hospital in town is still running on a 100 horsepower generator and consuming 20,000 litres of diesel daily.

I am told that it will take at least two more days for the engineers to restore power supply in Mahuva town,” said Kanubhai Kalsariya, former MLA of Mahuva, adding that the financial loss for farmers was “unimaginable” and that the government should announce a relief package for them soon.

Meanwhile, 430 officers and workers of the Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (PGVCL) were deployed to Bhavnagar for restoration of power supply on Friday. The workers travelled on the Ro-Ro ferry service from Surat. 

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