May 20, 2021 9:29:25 pm
Raigad district was severely affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae, with 11,144 houses being damaged and power supply knocked off in 1,820 villages. While power supply has been restored in most villages, 10 villages continue to remain without it three days after heavy rain lashed the district.
Raigad officials said that according to their assessment, power supply was affected in 1,820 villages due to damage to electricity poles and feeder lines. By Tuesday, power supply was restored in the urban parts of Alibag, one of the worst-hit areas in the district.
Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited’s (MSEDCL) 168 high-tension poles, 426 low-tension poles and 12 transformers were damaged by the cyclone. While over 90 per cent of the work has been completed, restoration work in 10 villages is under way, officials said.
Cyclone Taukate hit Alibag, Shrivardhan, Mhasla and Poladpur talukas the hardest. Unlike Nisarga, no large-scale damage to trees was recorded in the last three days. In 12 hours on Monday, Alibag received ‘very heavy’ rainfall at 104.6 mm, coupled with extremely high-speed wind and thunderstorms.
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Last year in June, severe cyclonic storm Nisarga had hit Shrivardhan, causing widespread damage to houses, trees, wildlife in the coastal district, just about 100 km from Mumbai.
The preliminary assessment by the Raigad district administration has revealed damage to 11,144 houses and 15,00 hectares of farmland, mainly mango, coconut and paddy. “It wasn’t as bad as Nisarga and the impact was similar across the district owing to heavy rain and wind. However, maximum house damage was observed in Alibag, Poladpur and Mahad,” said Nidhi Choudhary, District Collector, Raigad.
Kunal Salunkhe, an Alibag resident, said, “The administration evacuated people living along the coast in advance and in some areas, power was cut as a precautionary measure. In the city (urban) areas of Alibag, power was completely restored on Thursday morning.”
Nearly 3,000 residents were shifted to a safer location, according to data from the district collector’s office.
Impacted by two cyclones in two consecutive years, the district administration has submitted a proposal to the state government including the construction of cyclone shelter, lightning arresters and underground cabling. It is awaiting approval from the central government.
“We are creating awareness around cyclone-resilient building design. Even after Nisarga, we spoke to citizens in affected villages and advised them on the resilience of conventional ‘Kaularu’ structures and low-cost innovations like brickwork on monsoon sheds which makes it wind resistant. These steps helped a lot, as the damage to houses was limited during Tauktae,” said Choudhary.
She added, “We have also proposed setting up National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Mahad taluka and underground cabling network for coastal cities under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP). The work is ongoing in Alibag city.”
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