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Rs 200 Crore Allocated for Urban Flood Management in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: To enhance disaster resilience, Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi announced a Rs 200 crore allocation for urban flood management during the first State Natural Disaster Committee meeting of 2024, held at Lok Seva Bhavan. This funding aims to bolster the city’s infrastructure and preparedness against potential flooding events.

Chairing the meeting, CM Majhi underscored the mission of zero casualty in natural calamities, emphasizing the need for comprehensive disaster preparedness to handle floods and cyclones effectively. “We need to do a proper review of disaster preparedness to deal with floods and cyclones. The administration has to be vigilant to deal with the situation at the field level. Appropriate measures need to be taken in the fields of early warning, relief and rescue operations, drinking water supply, health, and veterinary treatment. ODRAF and fire brigade should always be alert for quick action,” he stated.

Satyabrat Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary to the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, delivered the welcome address, setting the stage for discussions on enhancing disaster management strategies.

During the meeting, committee members presented their perspectives on disaster management, prompting CM Majhi to direct the Irrigation Department to immediately repair weak river embankments and breaches. The Urban Development Department was instructed to desilt urban drains and manage excess rainwater effectively. Additionally, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) was tasked with preparing a draft proposal for the Rs 200 crore urban flood management project.

Highlighting long-term plans, Majhi revealed that a comprehensive flood management program for Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, and other urban areas will be developed with technical support from IIT Delhi.

To ensure continuous monitoring and coordination, a 24×7 control room will be established at state, district, and other levels. The health department was also instructed to stock anti-venom injections at all health centers, anticipating a higher incidence of snakebites during the rainy season.

The CM stressed the importance of disseminating advance information about various calamities through the mobile app ‘Satark’ and raising public awareness about its use.

Majhi lauded ODRAF as the first state-level Disaster Response Force in the country, commending its exceptional rescue operations during various calamities. He announced plans to expand ODRAF to 30 units and establish a dedicated force. The fire services department, being the first responder to district-level disasters, will see its capacity increased with an additional Rs 200 crore allocation, supplementing the Rs 394 crores from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

The establishment of five Regional Fire Service Hubs was highlighted as an immediate priority, enhancing response capabilities in light of recent accidents like the Bahanaga rail tragedy.

As the state braces for possible floods this year, the Special Relief Commissioner will coordinate with all departments to minimize disaster damage. CM Majhi also emphasized the need for adequate food, fodder, and essential supplies in shelter homes, ensuring special attention to vulnerable groups like pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Majhi concluded by acknowledging the state’s susceptibility to natural calamities, urging continued vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard lives and property. The CM commended the efforts of state and central governments in rescue operations during the Bahanaga railway accident and expressed concerns over recent incidents such as the boat capsize in Jharsuguda, firecracker explosion in Puri, and sunstroke deaths in Western Odisha.

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