Bhubaneswar, Oct 14: Asking chief minister Naveen Patnaik to be realistic and not propagandist, Congress on Monday rejected Odisha government’s claim that it undertook the country’s biggest ever evacuation operation by shifting about 9 lakh people to safe place ahead of Cyclone Phailin.
“The Odisha government’s claim about evacuation of 9 lakh people to safe places is a false propaganda. People of coastal areas moved to safe places on their own after getting reports about ‘Phailin’ with speed of 300 kmph from media,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Jaydev Jena said in a release.
Jena alleged that preparation of the state government to face “Cyclone Phailin is despairing. It was really unable to make arrangements to shift 50,000 people,” Jena said, claiming that the UPA government at the Centre provided adequate assistance to face the cyclone as per its assurance.
He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had discussed with him about the calamity and the Central assistance and inquired about the plight of the people.
Similarly, M Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of National Disaster Management Authority has sincerely monitored the operation.
Jena claimed that the Centre has provided 18 helicopters, 40 planes, 1220 National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel and other requisite materials.
On the other hand, the Indian Navy was fully prepared to face the situation, he said.
Jena alleged that state administration has not yet been able to reach people. The situation in Berhampur, Gopalpur, Rangeilunda and Puri is precarious.
“The government has failed to accumulate most essential commodities, though it has known about the severity of the cyclonic storm before a week,” the OPCC president said. (PTI)