OdishaPlus Desk

Cyclone Fani has severely impacted traditional business in Odisha. Whether it is customary craftsmen, poultry farmers, coconut cultivators, weavers, the cyclone’s impact is now being felt harshly.

Fani hit the holy city of Puri in the early hours on May 3rd with a wind speed of more than 200 kms. The immediate blow was on the coconut trees.Puri and its suburbs are known for massive coconut cultivation. Because of the storm, acres of coconut plantations have been flattened on national highway 306 – from Bhubaneswar to Puri.

Coir Industry

Coir industry, too, has been hit by the cyclone which has robbed a big chunk of the rural populace of the district of its source of livelihood. People in areas like Satsankh and Satyavadi are today a desperate lot having lost their prosperous business.

coir industry

‘Extensive damage has been caused to coconut trees, which is an important source of livelihood for the people living in coastal Odisha. Cash assistance of Rs 500 per damaged coconut tree will be provided to the affected farmers, subject to a limit of 25 trees per farmer, to support their immediate livelihood’, declared Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik soon after the cyclone.

boat fani fishing

Local Fishing

Local fishing community members of Puri too are in low spirits after the storm. The catch from the sea has been falling for the past few years because of a variety of reasons, the most important of them being the increasing roughness of the sea. With the catch going down a large number of Puri fishermen have shifted to other occupations. Yet, whatever little hope these Telugu fishermen had has been washed away by the hurricane. Puri’s hard-up fishermen used to work as laborers on construction sites in and around the town to earn a living. That too has been squeezed.

Cyclone Fani has severely impacted traditional business in Odisha. Whether it is customary craftsmen, poultry farmers, coconut cultivators, weavers, the cyclone’s impact is now being felt harshly.


Patta Artistes

Raghurajpur – the artists’ village on the way to Puri – too had to bear the brunt of the cyclone.  Fani tore down this artists’ village and the damage has been incalculable. Many artistes in the village have lost their works to the ferocious storm. Traditional Pattachitras made   in households –  which take a lot of time to finish –  have been damaged.There is no way these works could be restored for sale.


Says Sridhar Maharana an artiste, ‘once torn, one can neither mend it nor sell it. What we have lost is energy, patience and earnings.’ Almost everyone in the village with 140 families of artists have similar stories to narrate.

Then, there is the fear of the input cost s going up. One big blow from Fani is that   the palm trees have been damaged severely and those who supply palm leaves will now charge double the price. Similarly, it would be difficult to find traditional adhesives used for patta paintings.

Raghurajpur has been identified as a heritage village because of the traditional works ranging from Pattachitra to paper Mache and wooden carvings to dolls. The village, which usually witnesses an overflow of tourists to buy the artwork, has to bear the loss of tourists not being turned up.

Weavers Too

There is the distressing tale of traditional weavers of Kendrapada who have been facing untold misery after Fani.After the cyclone struck; about a thousand looms have stopped working. The weaver families in Dihasai, Haripur, Korua, Pundal, Atabhua, Kalaboda and Kuseapala are a distressed lot.

The looms, which have been the bread and butter for weavers for several decades, have been smashed in the storm. Weaver families which  eke out a living by spinning saris from the hand looms for decades have lost everything in the cyclone “I was earning 8,000 to 12,000  rupees a month, but after my two looms got damaged after the house collapsed in the cyclone, I am penniless ,” said Sudhan Sahoo.Piles of litter, including parts of looms only remain.

As most of the weavers live in mud-walled houses, all the looms stored inside have been damaged. The cyclone has pushed weavers into the chasm of unemployment. Now they plan to move around to major textile cities like Surat, Ahmadabad and Ludhiana in search of livelihood.

In the aftermath of Fani, the most important task is to procure parts of the damaged looms and restore lives of weavers. In some villages orders have been placed for spare parts with the hope that all artisans will be back on their looms in a month or two.

broiler business

Broiler Business

Many small broiler poultry units have also been damaged due to Cyclone Fani in around Puri,Cuttack, Khordha and Bhubaneswar. To revive the broiler units, the Odisha government has declared  each farmer will be provided with a 75-per cent subsidy, limited to Rs 1 lakh per unit of 500 birds. Two thousand small broiler poultry units will be supported through this intervention. This subsidy  will be met from the CM relief fund and the state’s own resources.