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Fani: Rlys to resume normal services from Puri by May 12, restore station in 3 months

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 8, 2019  | 20:22 IST

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) In an effort to resume connectivity with Odisha's Puri in the aftermath of the devastation wreaked by cyclone Fani, the Railways Wednesday said it will start normal services from the tourist town by May 12 but the complete restoration of the severely damaged railway station can take up to three months. Extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' made landfall in the coastal town on May 3, unleashing copious rain and windstorm with speeds of up to 175 kmph, and left behind a trail of destruction in 18 districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The Railways had cancelled 595 trains since the cyclone hit the state on May 3 and has so far managed to restore 141 of them, including 34 trains originating from Bhubaneshwar. "Today (Wednesday) we have restored three pairs of express trains from Puri and we will gradually increase the number. This decision has been taken by factoring in the repair work of the over-head wires, poles and the signalling system that needs to be done. By May 12, we will resume normal services of trains from Puri. However, repair work of the Puri railway station and the Puri coach maintenance complex will take up to three months as these have been severely damaged," East Coast Railway (ECoR) chief spokesperson J P Mishra said. "Our nearby divisions and even the other zones have really cooperated and collaborated with us to ensure that we restore services quickly," Mishra said. There are about 52 trains originating from Puri daily, of which 40 are express trains while 12 are passenger trains. The national transporter has also paid advance salary for the month of May to its staff of Puri and Khurda Road stations. The Railways has also deployed around 16,750 mandays for repair and restoration work across the state and funds to the tune of around Rs 15 crore have been released. The roofs of 825 staff quarters, 5,500 metre of boundary walls, 2,200 km of track (which have now been cleared), water supply at 60 stations, FOB shelters and the coaching and the maintenance depot in Puri had been badly affected by the cyclone. "The measures we took include clearing the path of the cyclone of all passenger trains eight hours before Fani hit. This was really instrumental in ensuring that the damage was contained. This was planned by the general manager of ECoR, who monitored the emergency operations. Also, we cleared the Howrah-Chennai route first since it was the mainline and thus taking off the pressure. It was only the Puri line that was still affected," Mishra said. "Staff unions have been mobilised and they are rendering big help," he added. The national transporter also ran six special trains to ferry stranded passengers from the state to Ranchi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Sambalpur, Jagadalpur and Durg. PTI ASG IJT

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