Hundreds of policemen will patrol National Highway (NH) 16 to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles with relief material, district Superintendent of Police AK Singh said.

More than 300 people Wednesday blocked NH-16 near Rambha, about 140 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, for more than an hour, disrupting the movement of trucks. Other roads were also blocked by people demanding that they be provided relief first.

Singh said that 300 policemen would patrol the highway, while another 300 will provide security cover to officials engaged in relief work. "We will not spare anyone who blocks roads and obstructs movement of relief vehicles," he said.

The very severe tropical cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal, which struck on Saturday night near Gopalpur in Ganjam district, has left a trail of destruction. It brought heavy rains and caused flooding. Relief and restoration work is continuing on a war footing in the districts worst affected by Phailin, including Ganjam, Puri, Gajapati and Khurda.

Floods have ravaged vast tracts in Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur districts. While the deaths in the disaster have so far reached 36, the state government has said that about 1.2 crore people in 17 districts of the state have been affected by the cyclone and subsequent floods.

(Agencies)

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