Fallen trees, tin roofs littered on roads, telephone and electric poles knocked down, shattered window panes and with power supply disrupted, industry in the port city of Vizag is trying to come to terms with the aftermath of the cyclone Hudhud that wrecked the city on Sunday.
With strong gales accompanied by heavy rainfall expected, most took precautionary steps to protect human life. But factories and buildings in the region bore the brunt. "We took some precautionary measures and shut our units [for bulk drugs and formulations] in the region and so no human life was impacted," says Saumen Chakraborty, President and Chief Financial Officer and the global head of IT and Business Process Excellence at Dr Reddy's Laboratories. "However, we are now trying to assess the damage at the units which also have had no power supply."
K.V. Vishnu Raju, Chairman, Anjani Group, which has a food processing unit spread over seven acres and employs close to 200 people 30 km north of Vizag, says there has been no power supply since Sunday morning 2 am with telephone lines also down now. He says the group's flagship bakery unit in the city located at the Siripuram junction, about 10 km from the eye of the storm, and with light roof structures, as is the case with most retail units, is expected to have suffered severe damage. "Since early evacuation measures were taken there is no damage to human life but it will take a few days before we can think of resuming operations," he says. "Most importantly, we may not be able to get the manpower as people have to first deal with problem faced
by water entering their homes."
Even bank branches in the region have been hit. Take Andhra Bank for instance. "We have about 100 branches in the Vizag and Srikakulam area. However, we are not able to operate 56 of these branches as there is no connectivity to our server and also there is no power supply," says C.V.R. Rajendran, Chairman and Managing Director of Andhra Bank. "We are working with local authorities to try and restore the services today."
Meanwhile, industry in Telangana is facing another concern. "A bigger damage is being done in Telangana with two days a week official power cut announcement by the government. This came into effect from the 8th of this month. This may probably be a bigger damage that the impact the units faced due to the cyclone in Vizag," says Devendra Surana, former president of the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Managing Director of Bhagyanagar India, a Rs 250 crore company that makes telephone cables and copper products.