| People rush out of their offices in Fortune Tower after the first tremors are felt in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, April 11: Panic gripped the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack after tremors were felt twice in the day. The tremors were first felt at 2.09pm and again at 4.30pm.
Panicked residents rushed out of their homes and offices to open spaces. Cracks seemed to have developed at some of the highrises in the capital following the tremors.
The seven-storey Fortune Tower developed cracks on its outer walls. Around 5,000 people work in 35 corporate offices situated in the highrise. The employees working on sixth and seventh floors were so scared that instead of opting for elevators, they ran down the staircase.
“I could feel the chairs moving suddenly. The room was shaking and all of a sudden I saw people rushing outside,” said Ansuman Pattnayak, who has his office at the building.
The same scene was witnessed at the nine-storey building of Odisha State Housing Board. “We were so scared that every one in the office started rushing out. When I felt the chairs shaking, I tried to hold it tightly. But I failed,” said S.N. Rao, an employee working on the seventh floor of the building.
People in Cuttack also panicked after mild tremors hit the city at around 2.10pm. Scores of people living in highrises came out in fear.
“I was watching the television when I felt the table and chair in the room were shaking. I immediately realised that it was an earthquake and all our family members quickly came out of the flat,” said Dinesh Sharma, a resident of Buxibazar.
The residents at CDA, Dolmundai, Bajrakabati, Pithapur, Ranihat and Mangalabag areas in the city also felt the tremors.
“I was standing outside my house when I came to know about the earthquake after my neighbours started to come out of their houses and were asking everybody to come down,” said Durga Charan Sahu, a resident of Mangalabag.
“I was returning home from office when my family members called me and informed me about the quake. Initially, I was worried as a tsunami alert was also sounded but later we heaved a sigh of relief after the experts on television clarified that there is no threat,” said Saroj Lenka, a resident of Dolmundai.
Mild tremors were also felt in several other parts of the state including Berhampur, Paradip and Puri.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik chaired an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation and the state’s preparedness.
The government issued an alert to six coastal districts (Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore).
Sarat Sahoo, director of meteorology centre, Bhubaneswar, said the intensity of the tremor was recorded at 2.0 on Modified Mercalli scale, which is designed to describe the effects of an earthquake, at a given place, on natural features, industrial installations and human beings.
Meteorology office sources said fishing vessels were advised not to venture deep into the sea.
Kendrapara collector Pradipta Patnaik said inhabitants of seven seaside villages in the district were being evacuated, while 66 costal villages were put on alerted.
Paradip additional district magistrate Surajit Das said 22 villages in Ersama area were put on high alert.
Last night, a storm, thundersqualls and heavy rain lashed several parts of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other coastal areas, disrupting road communication and power supply.
The torrential rain also caused waterlogging in many low-lying areas in Bhubaneswar-Cuttack.