BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Tuesday came in for sharp criticism from the Opposition political parties over its lack of preparedness to deal with natural calamities even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officials to take feedback from people living in vulnerable areas while preparing for possible floods.
Presiding over the meeting of State Level Natural Calamity Committee at the Secretariat here on Tuesday, the Chief Minister announced ex gratia of `4 lakh for families of victims of seven State specific disasters. The State specific disasters for which ex gratia amount was enhanced include lightning, whirlwind, tornado, boat accident, drowning and snakebite.
As a preparation for possible floods, the Water Resources department has identified 241 weak points along various river embankments, 14 of which are considered critical. Though the IMD has predicted deficient rainfall during this monsoon, the Chief Minister said many parts of the State had received good rainfall. “However, we have to remain in full state of preparedness to encounter both drought and flood situations,” he said.
The Chief Minister also asked the Agriculture department to make necessary crop planning for farmers to deal with a possible drought situation in view of the deficient rainfall. The Water Resources department should ensure repair of all embankments created in the last flood, he said and added that adequate materials should be stored near weak and vulnerable points.
While asking the departments concerned to ensure storing of adequate food materials and other essential commodities in vulnerable and inaccessible areas, Naveen said provision for supply of cattle feed, arrangements for supply of drinking water, health and hygiene should also be made. The engineering departments must remain in preparedness for immediate restoration of public utilities and essential services if there is a flood, he said.
Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra, however, alleged that the ground reality is totally different from what is stated by the State Government. Farmers affected by drought in 2011 are yet to get compensation, he said.
Criticising the State Government for implementing last year’s decision to renovate tanks in villages to meet requirement of water of people, Mishra wanted a list of tanks which has so far been renovated.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijoyshree Routray, Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat, Minister for Excise and Cooperation Damodar Rout, several other Ministers, Chief Secretary GC Pati, Development Commissioner UN Behera, MPs, MLAs and senior officials attended the meeting.