BHUBANESWAR: Prone to tropical cyclones and in the eye of a storm more often than other states on the east coast, the Odisha government on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assist the state in building a robust disaster resilient power structure and storm surge protection.
Briefing mediapersons after a review meeting by the Prime Minister at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena said the state government made a strong plea for central help in two areas.
“It has been a demand since long to build a calamity-proof power network in the coastal districts which are prone to summer cyclones. The second demand was for building storm surge barriers to stop ingress of sea waters,” Jena said. Since building cyclone resilient coastal infrastructure with modern design and technology needs huge investment, the state government offered to share the cost.
The Prime Minister was told that the existing 1,600 km long saline embankment on the Odisha coast is not enough to protect life and livelihoods in the coastal areas from high tides during severe cyclones. There are many vulnerable points of around 400-450 km in the saline embankments for which the state government has to spend huge amounts every year.
The state badly needed support of the central government for building storm surge barriers due to the complexity of the engineering and the significant costs of construction, the PM was told.
The SRC said that the state government has not made any monetary demand to the Prime Minister for restoration and rehabilitation works. A detailed assessment of the damage occurred due to the cyclone Yaas will be made and the state government is likely to submit a report to the Centre after a week.
On his arrival at the city airport, the Prime Minister took a review of the situation in the cyclone affected districts. Apart from showing a video clip of the cyclone that made landfall on Thursday in Balasore district and the trail of destruction it left, the state government made a presentation on its preparedness and the rescue, relief and restoration works.
Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, two Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi and senior officers of the state government participated in the review meeting.
After the review meeting, the Prime Minister took an aerial survey of the cyclone affected northen Odisha districts.