|An elderly woman is rescued from her flood-hit home and (below) a one-month-old baby and her mother being moved to safer areas. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 11: For residents of Kalyani Plaza on Sundarpada-Jatni Road, this year’s flood in the Daya river is a curse.
More than 1,500 people living in the apartment complex submerged by the waters of Daya river have been waiting for rescue, but the only boat engaged in rescue operation cannot help all.
Ananya Mondal, a school teacher, had been trying to get out of her residence since yesterday. But, she could manage to get out of her residence and put herself and her family up at a city hotel only at 11am today.
“My daughter has to sit for her exam tomorrow as she has already missed a paper on Friday. I also have to go to school. As it had become impossible for us to get out, we sought help move out of residence and decided to go to a hotel. The Orissa Fire Service personnel are helping residents, but there should have been at least another boat to help hundreds of people, including many patients and elderly,’’ said Ananya.
She said: “People are suffering as there is no power connection and water supply in my housing complex. Still, some people, who live on second floor and above, preferred to stay back as the floodwater had not reached their floors’. Vehicles on the basement parking area are almost floating.’’
Manendra Nayak and his brother were surprised to find no help from the fire service department in the evening as his mother was suffering from paralysis.
“We contacted the personnel and they said that they will not come to our rescue unless the district administration orders them,’’ he said.
Fire officials, however, clarified that the team tried to rescue as much people as they could till 2.30pm. “We will, however, try to help other people on emergency medical ground,’’ said an official.
“While rescuing a woman with a one-month-old baby this morning, the mother slipped off the boat. Luckily, a fire service personnel managed to hold them. This kind of situation happened only because the administration could not imagine the gravity of the situation. We are hard-pressed with only one boat at our disposal,’’ said a fire service official.
Dambarudhar Patra of Balabhadrapur, who was present near Hitech Plaza during the rescue operation, said: “By Friday evening, the water level was rising like anything and the roads leading to the apartment blocks were full with water making residents unable to come out.’’
Trinath Ojha, a private company employee, who stays in Hitech Plaza, said: “The unnecessary price hike of real estate projects in the city, especially by government agencies such as the housing board and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, has compelled people to take help of builders who, without considering any safety aspect, are constructing buildings in the flood-prone areas.’’
Baidhar Nayak, who had come to his son’s flat at Kalyani Plaza some days ago, was surprised to see the response of the state administration for the rescue of the stranded people.
“Some people might have done a mistake while purchasing their properties here. But on humanitarian grounds, the government should ensure enough supply of food and water to the flood-affected people here. The government should also have had enough boats to reach out to the flood victims as the Centre has already codified actions by respective state governments to fight urban flooding,’’ he said.
The fire officials added that working without any pause with a single rescue boat, the team was able to rescue around 130 people by 11am, which included five pregnant women, five infants and more than 30 kids.