Parts of the Raigad district, in the path of the severe cyclonic storm Nisarga that made landfall near Shrivardhan on Wednesday, remained without cellular connectivity and power even after the cyclone moved northeast.
‘Nisarga’, categorised a severe cyclonic storm by the India Meteorological Department, made landfall in the Raigad district around 12.30 pm, with talukas of Murud and Shrivardhan – both popular tourist destinations – being worst hit, among others.
With wind speeds of 100-110 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph, the severe cyclonic storm, which had been forming over the Arabian Sea for 124 hours, caused large-scale destruction in parts of Raigad, uprooting trees, blowing off rooftops and yanking electric poles. However, early warnings helped the district administrations move nearly 15,000 people across the coastal district to safety, a day ahead of its landfall.
District Collector Nidhi Chaudhari confirmed the cyclone claimed two lives in Raigad. Dashrath Waghmare (68) of Umate village in Alibag died after an electric pole collapsed on him when he had stepped out to check on his shop, while Amar Javlekar (17) died in a wall collapse in Shrivardhan.
Raigad Guardian Minister and Minister of State for Tourism Aditi Tatkare said that efforts were on to restore road connectivity in the district after the cyclone had led to obstructions owing to tree falls.
On Wednesday evening, Tatkare said, about 70 per cent of the work of clearing the roads had been completed and the rest would be done later at night. “We are trying to get at least one main road connecting each taluka cleared tonight to restore road connectivity.”
Tatkare added, “The main power grid in Alibag has encountered some problems and that should be resolved by tomorrow morning. In some areas, power has been disconnected as a precautionary measure.”
The NCP MLA from Shrivardhan, Tatkare, said Shrivardhan and Murud remained without cellular connectivity through the evening making communication further difficult. “There are network issues that may take another day to be resolved. Since the rain has not abated, it is difficult to find out where the fibre cables have been hit.”
While the extent of damage the cyclone left behind was yet to be measured, early estimates suggested that over 1,800 structures may have been damaged in Raigad. A detailed assessment of destroyed hutments, pucca structures, and agricultural crops will be carried out over the next few days.
Damodar Tandel, president of the Akhil Maharashtra Machchimar Kriti Samiti, said, “We are grateful to the district administration for relocating families of fishermen living near the coast in time to avoid any untoward incident. Many fisherman families have, however, lost their dry fish stock because of the cyclone. Such families and those whose homes may have been destroyed should be extended financial assistance by the government.”
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