Bhubaneswar: Even though the state is facing a dry spell, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday asked concerned departments to be prepared to tackle possible floods and cyclones.
Addressing a meeting of the state-level natural calamity committee here at the Secretariat Naveen said, “In spite of the current shortage in rain, we must remain fully prepared to tackle floods and cyclones during the year.”
He asked senior officers to strengthen early warning systems, rescue and relief operations, and ensure supply of drinking water and health, veterinary and other services.
The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units and Fire Services have been asked to be on alert and the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department was directed to ensure sufficient food in inaccessible areas.
Similarly, the CM asked the Agriculture department to ensure green fodder and to open cattle camps during natural disasters. Collectors were directed to keep the district emergency operation centres functional round-the-clock.
In case of natural calamities, he instructed officials to pay special attention to children, pregnant women, physically and mentally challenged persons, widows and the elderly during rescue and relief operations.
“Our state is prone to natural disasters. Almost every year, the state experiences floods, cyclones and droughts. Despite being vulnerable to natural hazards we are prepared to face any situation,” he pointed out.
Stating that the government had successfully managed drought, pest attacks and unseasonal cyclonic rain and flood last year, the Chief Minister said although the south-west monsoon reached Odisha slightly ahead of schedule and covered some parts this year, it suddenly weakened resulting in a dry spell across the state.
He asked the Agriculture department to continuously observe the situation in coordination with the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and activate the contingency plan, if required. During the meeting, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra advised the state government for revival of dried water bodies.
“This is the situation across most parts of Odisha, but the scenario in villages of southern and western parts of the state is grim”, he said.
He added that his party has raised this issue at multiple fora on repeated occasions, but the state government is not keen on restoration of water bodies.
Taking a cue from the Telengana government, the state Revenue and Disaster Management department should chalk out a comprehensive plan to desilt and rejuvenate water bodies of the state, he said, adding, “The planning should not be restricted to pen and paper.”
Among others, Finance minister Shashi Bhusan Behera, Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy and Cooperation minister Surya Narayan Patro were present at the meeting.