BHUBANESWAR: After successful management of two cyclones that hit the Odisha coast in 2013 and 2014, the Government on Saturday assigned the responsibility to the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) to prepare a protocol for effective drought management in the State.
The decision was taken at OSDMA’s governing body meeting chaired by Chief Secretary AP Padhi at the State Secretariat here.
Since the State is frequently visited by natural calamities like drought, the Government plans to put a system in place to take action in advance so that the situation does not aggravate and the farmers get timely assistance and relief.
“The protocol will be prepared jointly by the Panchayati Raj, Water Resources, Rural Development and Agriculture departments, which are directly associated with the OSDMA, during the monsoon months, if there is a forecast of deficient rainfall,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradipta Mohapatra.
As Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is making monsoon forecast well in advance, OSDMA has to plan accordingly to take necessary measures required to ensure that the situation does not go out of control during kharif season, he added.
Mohapatra said area specific measures will be adopted basing on the weather forecast of IMD. After observing the monsoon trend in the first three months (June to August), action will be taken in time. The protocol will fix the timing of the action plan.
In case of deficit rainfall, the SRC said the protocol will also help the departments concerned plan for labour-intensive programmes in advance. Besides, the farmers will be advised to take up short duration and drought-resistance crops to avoid crop loss.
Among other things, the meeting decided that the cyclone shelter management committees will be headed by the Sarpanches to look after its maintenance. Earlier, the Block Development Officers were the presidents of the committees.
Informing that the State has 850 cyclone shelters, Mohapatra said these buildings will be utilised for community purposes like marriage, religious and cultural programmes. Users’ fee to be collected from the organisers holding such functions will be used for maintenance of the cyclone shelters, the SRC said.