BHUBANESWAR: Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness of the district administrations on the impending cyclonic storm. He asked the district Collectors to put contingency measures in place to deal with the emergencies arising out of the situation.
Taking stock of the cyclone preparedness at district-level through video-conferencing from the Lok Seva Bhawan, Mahapatra asked the Collectors of 13 south, coastal and north Odisha districts to ready cyclone shelters beforehand and stock adequate dry food and other relief materials.
He interacted with the Collectors of Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Cuttack, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Mayurbhanj and asked them to closely monitor the situation and remain prepared for possible evacuation of people from the low lying areas and kutcha houses to safety.
Evacuation of people to the cyclone shelters will immediately begin after the path of the cyclone is known on December 3. The ODRAF, NDRF teams and fire fighters have been kept ready for mobilisation. They will be prepositioned in the vulnerable districts as per the requirement.
As IMD has sounded a heavy rainfall alert for the south coastal and north coastal districts between December 3 and 5, authorities of the districts concerned - Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur and Balasore in particular - were asked to take adequate measures to prevent waterlogging.
The Chief Secretary asked them to ensure drainage, desiltation and commissioning of pump sets in advance to prevent waterlogging in urban areas, especially in the Twin Cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. He also directed the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department to sensitise farmers to harvest the ripe paddy crops, vegetables and store the produce in safe places to prevent damage.
Development Commissioner and Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena who attended the meeting gave Collectors an eight-point checklist to prepare for the possible cyclone which is expected to reach South Odisha-North Andhra coast by December 4 morning.
Jena asked the Collectors to activate round-the-clock control rooms at district headquarters; hold coordination meetings with field officials of different departments and public representatives of district, blocks and panchayats; ensure Covid safety measures in the cyclone shelters, shift expectant mothers to nearby hospitals in advance and engage ASHA and anganwadi workers for care of infants and pregnant women.
As a precautionary measure and safety of passengers, the East Coast Railway has cancelled 95 Mail and Express trains originating from different destinations and passing through the zone on December 2, 3 and 4.