Odisha CM asks departments to be prepared for possible floods

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday asked officials to remain prepared to face a flood-like situation in the state. "Indian Meteorological Department predicted surplus rainfall during the current year 2016. Therefore, the probability of flood this year appears very high. Keeping this in view we have to remain in a full state of preparedness to encounter flood situations," said the chief minister presiding over the state-level natural calamity meeting here. Informing the meeting that all the past breaches in embankments have been closed, he said the water resources department would ensure that adequate flood fighting materials are packed in the vulnerable points of river embankments. "We have 10 functional Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units and the government has created 10 more units which will be in place very soon. Similarly, there are 293 fire stations at presents and 42 more stations shall be set up very soon," said Patnaik. He said these units must be in readiness for deployment to undertake rescue and relief operation in the event of the flood as the first responder. He also directed the departments to ensure adequate food materials and other essential commodities, including drinking water, are provided in inaccessible, flood-prone areas. "Every department should have their standard operating procedure ready and carry out mock drills to fine tune preparedness," said the chief minister and asked the chief secretary to review this and brief him every week.  He said the collectors and officers of different departments at district and field levels have already been instructed to remain in full preparedness to effectively meet the possible flood situation.