Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 30:
The Odisha government today announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased for any death due to one of the seven state-specific disasters.
Presiding over the state level natural disaster committee meeting at the State Secretariat here, chief minister Naveen Patnaik asked the concerned officials to immediately provide the ex-gratia to the family of the deceased if someone dies in any of the seven Odisha specific disasters.
It may be mentioned that the state government had announced eight natural calamities as State Specific Disasters on April 1 this year. They are: lightning, whirlwind, tornado, heavy rain, sunstroke, boat accident, drowning and snakebite. Barring sunstroke, the state government has decided to provide Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the family of the deceased who dies in any of the seven state specific disasters.
Besides, the chief minister directed the Water Resources department to strengthen all weak river embankments and repair of all breached embankments on the basis of the feedback from the people living in these areas.
“I would suggest the departments to have a foolproof feedback mechanism directly from people living in vulnerable embankment areas and people’s representatives. This is very important,” Patnaik said.
Stating that the state government should be ready to tackle a possible drought and flood situation in view of the forecast of the Indian Meteorological Department on irregular rainfall this year, the chief minister asked the Agriculture department to come up with necessary crop planning.
He also asked the Revenue and Disaster Management department to keep the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire tenders in readiness for relief and rescue operations during flood and asked the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare department to keep adequate food materials in stock in the remote and inaccessible areas vulnerable to flood.
Besides, he laid emphasis on supply of drinking water, proper health services and sanitation in the flood-affected areas.
The chief minister asked all departments to keep their the technical wings in readiness for restoration work in the event of any natural calamity.
The members of the committee discussed the problems in their areas and their solution.
Revenue and Disaster Management minister Bijayshree Routray, Cooperation minister Damodar Rout, Finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra, ministers of the concerned departments, MPs, MLAs, chief secretary, development commissioner, principal secretaries and secretaries were present.
Talking to newsmen after the meeting, leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said the state government, instead of being satisfied with what remains on paper, should make a thorough review on how much of work hasactually been done at the ground level.
“During our visit to the rural areas, we have found that the state government has done nothing. The state government is yet to provide financial assistance towards crop loss suffered by farmers in 2011. If this is the state of affairs, then what is the purpose of this review meeting? We have suggested the government to take special measures, especially in the drought prone areas and the villages to renovate and develop the existing water bodies for proper conservation of water to help the farmers overcome crop loss,” Mishra said.
Puri MP Pinaki Mishra said he had proposed to the chief minister construction of more flood shelter homes in the low-lying areas in Puri district.