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Vikash Sharma

Salepur: Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda today asserted that Odisha government’s preparedness in tackling Cyclone ‘Titli’ was somewhere incomplete.

Though Odisha’s capacity in handling such natural disasters has increased after the super cyclone of 1999, it was for the first time in 20 years that the level of preparedness was not up to the mark, Panda said.

Panda made such statements in response to media queries regarding the tragic loss of 12 lives in a landslide in Gajapati district in the aftermath of cyclone Titli.

“Earlier, ‘zero casualty’ was being maintained and lakhs of people were evacuated during cyclone Phailin and Hudhud with one to two casualties. But this time, over a dozen people lost their lives which shows that there were some lapses in preparedness,” said Panda.

Panda further criticized the Odisha government for not responding to his request to unseal the hangar where three helicopters have been arbitrarily seized in connection with a false case.

“It is unfortunate that Odisha government is hiring helicopters from other States. I had urged the CM yesterday to open the hangar so that I could assist in relief and rescue operations,” said Panda.

Panda further stated that the lives of those killed in Gajapati district could have been saved if he was allowed to take the sortie so that relief could have been provided to them.

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