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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: A thunder struck for Odisha! The State nowhere figured in the NDMA's (National Disaster Management Authority) plan to put up lightning arrester tools in intensive lightning-hit districts in states of Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Despite the monumental miss, State government still lies in slumber mode. The demand for inclusion of the State in the NDMA project is yet to be raised by Odisha government at a right platform.

The apathy for Odisha looks numbing when the State had topped the country in the year 2019 for having recorded the highest lightning flash counts in a year.

As per the joint report of Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council ( CROPC) & IMD, and also the report of Earth Networks, Odisha topped the country in recording highest lightning counts in year 2019.

While the joint study report of CROPC & IMD put the total lightning flash strike counts at 9 lakh between April - July 2019, the Earth Network report counts the total lightning strikes in Odisha during the calendar year 2019 at 9.3 lakh.

The Earth Network report said Odisha recorded a massive 29.6 lakh lightning flashes in 2019. But only 9.3 lakh flashes were cloud to ground, rest were intra-cloud flashes. Since cloud to ground lightning flashes take a toll on human life and property, the total counts therefore were put at 9.3lakh, the Earth Network report elaborated.

What needs mentioning here is a significant unanimity has been observed in both the reports. Both reports revealed that Odisha topped the chart of lightning-hit states in the country.

However, a divergence of sort is observed. While CROPC -IMD report has put Maharashtra at the second spot, Earth Networks report ranked West Bengal second-most lightning hit state in country.

What sounds curious is the NDMA initiative to develop and deploy lightning arrester equipments in country's lightning hot spots under the World Bank assisted National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) Phase-II will benefit states like Goa and Kerala. Odisha is not in the beneficiary list. This is so when  in both the reports didn't rank the states in the highly vulnerable group. While Kerala was ranked at 15th,  Goa figured at the bottom.

The other beneficiary states in the NDMA list are: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Karnataka. In the high lightning prone states in 2019, Karnataka figured in the top-10; whereas Gujarat had been ranked at 12th. But the highly prone states like Odisha, MP and Jharkhand are found missing from the high-profile NDMA initiative.

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