CM:Permanent helipads in flood-prone areas

Bhubaneswar: Facing difficulties in execution of relief operation during natural calamities with areas waterlogged for days, the Orissa government today decided to construct permanent helipads in coastal region.

A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik decided to build the helipad in the wake of failure in air-dropping of food packets in Bari block of Jajpur district flooded by swollen Brahmani and Baitarani rivers, official sources said.

The state government had to stop air-dropping of food packets yesterday in Bari area as the pilots could not find any dry or high land for dropping, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said.

Had there been a helipad in the area, relief operation could have been carried out smoothly, he said.

"As road communication get snapped due to high floods, air-dropping of food packets is the only option left with the government. But, when that is hampered due to lack of dry places, people`s suffering gets compounded," Patro said.

Permanent helipads would be constructed in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Cuttack, Jajpur Bhadrak and Balasore district, the sources said.

This apart, Patnaik had also asked the officials to construct flood centres along high lands where distressed people could be sheltered during the calamities and godowns to store relief materials.

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