A cyclone relief shelter in Gundamala village in Prakasam district presents a pathetic picture with dangling rods and cracked walls.

With the devastation caused by cyclone Laila in 2010 still fresh in mind, we dread every time a weather system forms in the Bay of Bengal, says a group of fishermen from the village as a low pressure area formed over the Bay of Bengal.

The situation is no better in the shelters spread across the 102-km coastline, in the district.

”The shelter in Thetupuram village in Tangutur mandal was constructed some 25 years ago. The slabs have developed cracks. It may cave in any time”, complains villager N.Siva Reddy as the sea remained rough and sky overcast.

”Our repeated pleas to construct a new one have fallen on deaf ears”, he says gearing up to petition the revenue officials here along with other villagers. ”We carry out minor repairs ourselves. When it comes to replacement, it is for the authorities to step in”, he adds

Most of the 98 cyclone centres in the district have remained in disuse as severe drought prevailed over the last four years and have become a resting place for anti-social elements. As many as 11 coastal mandals are prone to devastation at the time of cyclones crossing of the coast between April and November.

The district administration has identified that as many as 134 habitations in 40 revenue villages are cyclone prone and constructed 98 shelters to evacuate fishermen and others as and when needed.

Only 15 cyclone relief shelters are in good condition and rest of them require repairs, according to a report compiled by revenue officials under the District Action Plan for cyclone mitigation in 2018-19.

About 11 coastal shelters each in Tangutur, Vetapalem and Kothapatnam mandals need repairs, 8 in Singarayakonda, 6 in Chirala, 7 in Chinaganjam and five each in N.G.Padu, Ongole and Ulavapadu, explains District Revenue Officer V.Venkata Subbaiah.

”We carry out repairs one after the other. It is an unending process”, says S.Raghu Babu, Superintending Engineer of Panchayat Raj which has been entrusted with their maintenance.

Under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, nine new cyclone relief centres have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 17 crore ahead of the rainy season, adds Panchayat Raj Executive Engineer Maruthi Ram.

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