Odisha Government Allocates ₹200 Crore to Combat Urban Flooding

Emphasis on Zero Casualties in Disaster Management

In a move to bolster its disaster preparedness and mitigate urban flooding, the Odisha government, led by the newly-formed BJP administration, has allocated ₹200 crore for this critical initiative. The decision was made during a comprehensive natural disaster management committee meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mohan Majhi at Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Expansion of Disaster Response Forces

The government has decided to enhance the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) from 20 to 30 units to ensure a more robust response to natural disasters. The Home Department has been instructed to make ODRAF a dedicated force, capable of effectively tackling emergencies. Additionally, the state plans to establish five regional Fire Services hubs to respond promptly to sudden accidents, like the tragic Bahanaga train incident.

Focus on Flood Management and Preparedness

Discussions during the meeting also covered strategies to manage potential flood situations during the current rainy season. Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahu provided insights into the state’s preparedness for possible flooding scenarios. Emphasis was placed on preventing artificial flooding during heavy rainfall in urban areas, with a substantial budget of ₹200 crore earmarked for this purpose.

Technological Assistance from IIT Delhi

To tackle urban flooding, IIT Delhi has been tasked with offering technological support for cities like Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The institute will develop a long-term plan to address the issue and submit it to the government for implementation. The state’s existing 24×7 control rooms, which provide flood-related information at the state, district, and sub-division levels, will be upgraded to smart control rooms for better efficiency.

Healthcare and Emergency Preparedness

The Health Department has been directed to ensure an adequate supply of anti-snake venom across hospitals in the state to handle snake bite incidents during floods. This step is part of a broader initiative to enhance healthcare readiness in the face of natural disasters.

Commitment to Comprehensive Disaster Planning

Chief Minister Majhi emphasized the government’s commitment to comprehensive disaster management planning, stating, “We rely on ODRAF during natural disasters, and they have consistently performed commendably. Increasing the number of ODRAF units from 20 to 30 is a crucial step in our preparedness strategy.” He further added that many more proposals are being developed for micro-level planning to effectively manage various natural disaster scenarios.

Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Suresh Pujari urged the public to cooperate with the government’s efforts, saying, “We have meticulously prepared plans to handle any kind of natural disaster in the state and request the cooperation of people in this regard.”

The Odisha government’s proactive measures aim to strengthen disaster management systems and reduce the impact of natural calamities on the state’s population.

(With inputs from agencies)

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