**Bhubaneswar:** As decided earlier, ten more ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) teams have been created and already trained to deal with disaster exigencies in the State here while Rs 70 crore has been sanctioned for purchase of new and modern equipment.
Besides, the World Bank-aided early warning system in 22 blocks of the State here will be ready by April while the Drought Management System under the OSDMA (Odisha State Disaster Management Authority) was formally approved by the State Government on Thursday at its State Executive Committee meeting at the Secretariat here.
Briefing media after the meeting, Pradipta Mahapatra, Special Relief Commissioner said, “Today the State Executive Committee meeting was held chaired by the Chief Secretary. This is a continuous improvement in our disaster preparedness plan. 2016 passed off well. As you know, there will be more 10 ODRAF units as decided earlier. You will be glad to know that all the 10 more units have been created and they have been trained. Today it was formally decided that they will be using all new and modern equipment. They had undergone training with the old equipment of the old 10 ODRAF units. The committee that had been constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Home, has standardised which equipment to be purchased. Hence, approximately Rs 70 crore has been sanctioned to purchase the required equipment.”
On the early warning system in 22 blocks of the State, he informed, “The progress was reviewed today at the meeting. We hope that World Bank-aided project will complete by April. Since the maintenance period of the project is of five years, we want that our officers will be well-trained by that period. The agency that has been entrusted with running it will carry out. After that only our officials will look after.”
“The most important decision of today is Drought Management System. It will be under the OSDMA (Odisha State Disaster Management Authority) which was formally approved today and following which additional 610 automatic rain gauge stations will be installed. So that we’ll collect and have a total drought-proofing plan and apprehending drought we could be able to initiate mitigation measures to build the capacity of the farmers of our State,” he added.
When being asked on the cyclone shelter, the SRC informed, “In this year we have placed proposal for increasing the number cyclone shelters in the budget. We have proposal for adding 100 more flood-cum-cyclone shelters. We’ve already built 1500 cyclone shelters. By March all will be completed. It is to be seen how much is to be sanctioned in the 2017-18 Budget on our proposed 100 more.”