Flight from port of death and decay
Candle goldrush in city of darkness
Kindly diya to lead Pope in India
London hot runner in curry capital race
Calcutta weather

Paradip, Nov 3 
An exodus has begun from Paradip. The port township has become a muddied field of corpses. Human bodies and animal carcasses are surfacing all over the ravaged township and in areas within a three km radius.

Over a hundred bodies were dumped on the seashore for cremation till this evening, but with the survivors busy hunting for food and water, no one had any time for the dead.

District officials said about 500 deaths have been confirmed so far, but it was too early to take a count as bodies continued to wash up everywhere ? at street corners, on bridges, in paddy fields.

Some of the bodies have been lying on the seashore for three days. Most were unidentified. Some were tangled in nets, indicating they were fishermen.

Those who escaped being killed by the cyclone are now trying to escape death by starvation. An exodus has begun from Paradip, with about 50 trucks ferrying people to other port towns like Cuttack.

According to some estimates, already 5,000 people have fled in the past two days, ever since the road link was restored. Thousands are waiting to leave.

Bijoy Nayak, MLA from Erasama, under which Paradip falls, said: ?Why should people hang on this place where there is no food, no shelter and no security??

Nature?s fury has changed the contours of the township. Overnight, two rivers have started flowing across the township. Old colonies have disappeared.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Nayak?s constituency Erasama is still inaccessible even to the army. The Erasama block has 45,000 people while the total population of the constituency is 200,000.

The Paradip Port Trust has engaged payloaders and dumpers to remove the clusters of bodies. But disposing of them is a major problem. Dilip Mishra, traffic manager of the port trust who has been supervising restoration measures, admitted: ?No one is coming to bury or burn the bodies, be it of humans or animals.? Mishra appealed to voluntary organisations to help prevent an environment disaster after the cyclone ruin.

Besides bodies, the township is covered with twisted iron structures, flattened towers and massive, uprooted trees. The tidal waves churned up by the cyclone have dredged the sea bed and deposited hundreds of tonnes of bedrock on roadsides.

Helicopters were loaded with food packets and water pouches on navy ships berthed at a distance, but the air-dropped food supply was too little to meet the demand.

Since Paradip has a floating population, the exact death toll may never be known. Of the 75,000 people living in the town, only about 7,000 were port trust employees. The rest comprised mainly construction labourers and nulias.

For the first time since the cyclone struck, the army entered Paradip using the land route today, clearing roads and setting up makeshift bridges along the way.

Brigadier Rajinder Singh Rawat, deputy commander of the task force set up to carry out rescue and relief operations ? codenamed Operation Sahayata ? said evacuation of the sick and injured began this afternoon. For the first time since the cyclone struck, the army entered Paradip using the land route today, clearing roads and setting up makeshift bridges along the way.

Brigadier Rajinder Singh Rawat, deputy commander of the task force set up to carry out rescue and relief operations ? codenamed Operation Sahayata ? said evacuation of the sick and injured began this afternoon.

Battered Paradip nearly fell prey to another major tragedy when a grounded ship carrying ammonia tilted on to the beach, threatening to spill the chemical.

Three huge generators and pumps were rushed in from Calcutta and Jamshedpur by helicopter to empty the ship?s container, said Group Captain H.P.S. Natt, who is overseeing the air force sorties. ?Had we been a bit late, it could have been a bigger disaster than Bhopal,? he said.

Even as the government struggled to cope with the havoc wrought by the cyclone, flash floods slammed Puri, Balasore and Balasore, swamping fresh areas and leaving thousands marooned.

State revenue minister Jagannath Patnaik said the Brahmani, Baitarani and Kharasrota rivers breached their banks and flooded the three northern districts.

?As if the cyclone was not bad enough, we have to deal with the floods as well,? said Patnaik. ?This is Orissa?s double curse.?

Relief loaded on trucks and vans continued to be the target of hungry mobs. Reports of attacks came in from Bhadrak and Jajpur. The government has also called in the CRPF and CISF to guard aid agencies carrying relief.    

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 3 
In this hungry and groping capital city, the hottest items are candles, kerosene and batteries.

With the administration still unsure about when power can be restored, blackmarketeers are having the time of their life fleecing panic-stricken buyers.

Candles have become so hot that small packets are selling for Rs 60-80 each. Of course, depending on where you are buying them from. ?This is an artificial scarcity because of panic buying,? remonstrated an official of the civil supply department.

The government today announced that three kerosene outlets will be opened tomorrow, but the queues are going to be long.

Residents are also having to contend with another harrowing fall-out: spiralling price of foodstuff.

Even though some shops today opened in the city, the shelves were almost empty. Till yesterday, shopkeepers had not dared to up shutters because of the desperate, ravenous mobs.

Flour, wheat, bread, butter and puffed rice have disappeared from the market and the price of other food items have more than quadrupled.

While a kg of potato is selling for close to Rs 30, onions cost Rs 45 per kg. And you have to cough up Rs 25 for a kg of inferior quality rice. Fish and chicken prices have also shot through the roof, but most people are not buying them because of their ?dubious quality?.

Even in the hospitals, food is scarce. Till yesterday, there was no power in Bhubaneswar?s biggest hospital, Capital Hospital, and all surgical operations had been suspended. It was only today, for the first time since the cyclone, that power was restored on an ?emergency basis?.

?It has been hell for the patients,? said a doctor. ?We just tried to keep them alive and the only source of light were candles.?

For the past few days, most households have gone without drinking water and the only source has been the nearby wells.

Only a lucky few have been able to avail the water tanks sent to different localities. ?Drinking water has been provided selectively,? complained a Lewis Road resident.

But in this gloom of suffering, there were signs of life limping back to normal. The city police put in an appearance today. And till the time of filing, there were no reports of looting and riot.    

New Delhi, Nov. 3 
Marking a major shift in the Vatican?s policy on ?inculturisation? and bowing to the wishes of the Indian clergy, Pope John Paul II has approved the introduction of ?Indian elements? into various ceremonies during his visit here and the mass he is offering at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

The two-hour-long mass, to be attended by an estimated 60,000 people, will have a local ambience. In the background of the podium will be a huge ?diya?, symbolising the spirit of Diwali, which falls on the same day. The altar will be decorated with lamps.

When the pontiff arrives at Vigyan Bhavan in the evening for the inter-faith meeting with leaders of all major religions, he will be greeted with vedic hymns such as: ?Asathoma sadgamaya, thamasoma jyotirgamaya, mrithyorma amretham gamaya. (Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light, lead me from mortality to immortality).? The venue will be decorated with diyas.

A traditional welcome awaits the Pope at the stadium also, where ?tilak? will be applied on his forehead. The church authorities had plans to apply tilak to all who came for the mass, but security agencies rejected the idea.

The Bible, placed on the altar, will be sprinkled with flowers and seven nuns will perform ?aarti? to the holy text. Apart from English and a few Asian languages, the gospel will be read in Hindi and a few other regional languages.

Tribals from Ranchi will dance and sing in their dialect at the venue. A Tamil song-and-dance number is also on the cards.

Over 150 bishops from Asia, including India, are expected to participate in the mass. The cassocks worn by the bishops and priests will have an inscription ? 2000 Jubilee Year ? on the back while the Diwali diya will be embossed on the front.

Fr. Iris Fernandes, who had flown to Rome a few days ago to get the ?Indianisation? of the mass and other functions approved by the Pope, said the pontiff promptly agreed to the requests. He said the Vatican placed great importance on incorporating Indian culture into church functions.

However, church sources said the Vatican still did not give freedom to Asian churches to ?deculture?. The Indianisation being agreed to is only superficial. In fact, a radical section of the church is unhappy with the Vatican for not granting autonomy to Asian churches.

During the Asian bishops? synod in Rome last year, many bishops had challenged the dominant European model in universal church affairs and excessive Vatican control over most areas of church life.

They stressed on radical decentralisation of church administration. The pro-reform clergy also warned against ?deculturing? local Catholic communities to fit the Roman pattern.

The Catholic communities need more freedom to grow and mature, they said. But the Pope is unlikely to grant them the desired autonomy as a powerful lobby in the Vatican is against the move.    

London, Nov. 3 
Food experts claim it is possible to find better Indian food in Britain than in India. The truth of this controversial claim will be tested when a competition is held in the next year or so to find the ?curry capital of the world?.

Peter Grove, publisher of an annual British survey called The Real Curry Restaurant Guide, said the first round of the competition will be to discover the ?curry capital of Britain?. London will count as four regions. Other cities taking part will be Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bradford & Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Leicester.

The next round will be to find the curry capital of Europe, followed by the finals in which it is expected London will be pitted against Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta.

Because of exacting hygiene and health standards, it is probably true that the ingredients for making Indian food available in Britain are of a superior quality to those sold in India. For example, the best basmati rice is exported to Britain.

Britain?s confidence as a source of Indian food has been boosted by the disclosure that chicken tikka masala, a British invention, is now starting to appear in selected places in Mumbai and in parts of Bangladesh. This was to meet the demands from British visitors.

The dish, which does not exist in the Indian culinary pantheon, was concocted about 20 years ago to satisfy the undiscriminating British palate. It has now become the British national dish, easily replacing such traditional fare as roast beef and fish and chips.

That chicken tikka masala has been exported to the sub-continent was revealed by a panel of experts which met at the Nehru Centre in London this week to launch Curry in the Crown, a book on the growth of the 2.5 billion pound curry industry in Britain by Shrabani Basu, a journalist with ABP group.

The spectacular growth of Indian cuisine in Britain, which has given rise to several Indian millionaires, has been widely interpreted as the empire striking back. But with the ?reverse export? of chicken tikka masala, the Raj, many people now concede, may yet have the last laugh.

The genesis of the dish is uncertain. Iqbal Wahaab, a former editor of Tandoori, a trade magazine, said: ?My theory is that an Englishman asked for chicken tikka in a restaurant. When it came, he protested, ?Where is my gravy?? The chef poured tomato soup and cream over it and called it chicken tikka masala.?

Grove says, ?the dish came about in the 1960s and half-a-dozen chefs claim credit for it. It began with a tin of soup. We did research on it and have found 48 different recipes. What they have in common is chicken. In Glasgow, the dish glows in the dark?.

The food manufacturer, G.K. Noon, who supplies packets of chilled Indian food to supermarkets, said: ?I cannot claim credit for it but I was the first one to put chicken tikka masala on supermarket shelves in 1989.?

Shrabani Basu emphasised: ?Chicken tikka masala is all over my book.? She added that some restaurants in India were starting to include balti, a creation credited to Birmingham. ?I found balti in a restaurant in Bangladesh. I was horrified. India is also beginning to stock curry paste. People are obviously in a hurry.?    

Temperature: Maximum: 31.6?C (+2) Minimum: 23.5?C (+3) Rainfall: Nil Relative humidity: Maximum: 95%, Minimum: 51% Today: Mainly clear sky. Partly cloudy day. Fall in night temperature. Sunset: 4.54 pm Sunrise: 5.47 am    

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