Odisha gears up for monsoon, EWDS in coastal region by July

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today geared up to face possible calamities like flood and cyclone expecting an early monsoon and asked officials to set up Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) by July.

The decision in this regard was taken at the State Level Pre-Monsoon Preparatory meeting presided over by Chief Secretary A P Padhi.

Padhi asked district collectors to hold pre-monsoon preparatory meetings in their respective areas and hold mock drills at district, block and tehsil levels for keeping official machineries ready for any eventuality.

He issued directions to the fire service, Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) to get prepared before the onset of the monsoon.

“The Chief Secretary has directed to put in place EWDS for the coastal region by July so that people can get alert before calamities hit them,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi adding, monsoon is likely to reach Odisha coast a week before its schedule.

Stating that this time the monsoon will be normal, Sethi said the IMD has forecast about 20 per cent excess rain in June this year.

“We are preparing for the future keeping an eye on all these information,” Sethi said.

Replying to a question, the SRC said EWDS will cover all six coastal districts and provide information on weather regularly.

He said the government has already started work for installing 122 towers spread over six districts and 22 blocks of the six coastal districts and people living along the 480 km long coastline can be alerted through siren, through MMS and other kinds of alerts.

The state already has 879 multi-purpose shelter homes for the flood and cyclone where the people could be shifted during the calamities.

He said while 10 teams of ODRAF have been stationed in Cuttack, Ganjam, Koraput, Jharsuguda, Balsore, Baripada, Paradip, Bhubaneswar, Bolangir and Rourkela, another set of 500 personnel have been trained with disaster management techniques and will be part of the new ODRAF teams.

“The Chief Secretary has directed to provide required machineries and boats to the new ODRAF team,” Sethi said.

This apart, 11 teams of NDRAF have been stationed at Mundali near Cuttack and another team at Balasore.

The Chief Secretary also directed the health department and others associated with relief and rescue measures during calamities to remain alert.