Pradeep Pattanayak

Every year, Odisha celebrates Disaster Preparedness Day on October 29 because on this day the devastating Super Cyclone hit Odisha and caused massive damage. Today also the day was observed at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar. 

On this occasion, in a video message, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said disaster has been a big challenge for Odisha. The state has always been tackling each disaster successfully. This year’s Bahanaga train tragedy is the biggest example of this.
While addressing the gathering, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Satyabrata Sahu said all the villages would be so prepared that they could face any disaster. A sum of Rs 2,000 crore would be spent on the infrastructure development. A huge change has taken place in the last ten years as almost all the kutcha houses have been converted into pucca ones. 

What has become the government’s cause of headache is the increasing number of deaths due to lightning, snake bites and drowning. The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams would be deployed in the districts that are reporting such cases, he said. 

Later, while replying to the queries of journalists, SRC Sahu said, “This year, our state has been awarded as the best state which is our biggest achievement. Following the direction of the Chief Minister, the people of Odisha are trying to ensure zero casualty during any disaster. We are now focusing on how to face chemical and biological disaster because had the goods train (involved in the Balasore train accident) been a chemical carrying one, the situation would have been different.”

Similarly, while talking to journalists, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi said, “Odisha faced a super cyclone on October 29, 1999. Since that day, Odisha has been observing the day as a ‘Sankalp Diwas’. Now what is in our focus is if something happens in the future, how to handle the situation. After the Super Cyclone, the Disaster Management department has been strengthened and so many steps have been taken to ensure quick rescue operation and dissemination of messages during such eventualities.”

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