New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah held a review meeting, through video conferencing Monday, with the chief ministers of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and the Lt. Governor of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, to assess their preparedness and that of Central ministries and agencies concerned, to deal with the situation arising out of Cyclone ‘Yaas’, which is forming in the Bay of Bengal.
Amit Shah specifically reviewed and re-iterated to the States/ UT administrations to make adequate power backup arrangements in all Covid-19 hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities. Further, he advised them to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals, keeping in view likely disruption of movement of vehicles. For health facilities, including temporary hospitals, likely to be affected by the cyclone, the Union Home Minister advised them to make adequate arrangements for securing them from losses and for evacuation of patients in advance, if necessary. The Union Home Minister said advance action taken in this regard on the Western coast ensured that there was no adverse impact on any medical facility.
The union home minister also reviewed the impact of the cyclone on oxygen generation plants located in the States of West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. He advised them to make advance planning for keeping a buffer stock of oxygen for two days and movement of oxygen tankers to allocated States, so that in case of any disruption, supply to allocated States is not impacted.
Amit Shah also asked the State governments to ensure the safety of oxygen generation plants. He also emphasized the need to make necessary arrangements for safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and health facilities.
The safety of all shipping and fishing vessels, and all ports and oil installations in the area was also reviewed during the meeting. In this regard, the union home minister also reviewed the preparedness of the concerned States and UT to ensure that all fishermen are brought back to shore and the timely evacuation of people from low lying and vulnerable areas. He advised them to disseminate messages in local languages over mobile phones, television, social media and through village panchayats, with a view to educate and motivate people. As practiced by Odisha, volunteers, such as Home Guards, NCC and civil defence may also be mobilized in helping in the evacuation of people, Amit Shah said.
The union home minister stressed on the need to ensure safety of power and telecommunication services and their timely restoration. He advised the State governments and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands to make advance planning and pre-position required manpower, equipment and material at vulnerable locations. He also emphasised on the need to look after the safety of power lines during the cyclone, and to promptly restore any damage that occurs.
Further he said that timely pruning of heavy trees, will help in damage mitigation. Shri Amit Shah also advised the State Governments and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands to be in touch with the India Meteorological Department for their advance warnings and updated forecasts.
Amit Shah assured the States and the Union Territory of all cooperation of the Central Government and its agencies, and directed senior officers for the same. He said that maximum resources, both government and private, should be utilized to tackle the situation.
Amit Shah said that a 24×7 control room is functioning in the MHA, which can be contacted at any time for any assistance by the States and the Union Territory. He said the Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, the Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial sorties.
The chief minister of Odisha thanked the Central government for convening the meeting and for extending assistance to the State government in its preparedness efforts. He assured that all necessary steps have been taken by the Odisha government to handle and manage the cyclone. The chief minister of West Bengal also assured that necessary steps are being taken to ensure that there is minimal loss of life and property due to the impending cyclone, and that the State Government is fully prepared. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh thanked the Central Government and assured that necessary precautions are being taken. The Lt. Governor of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands informed the Union Home Minister that the cyclone would have little or negligible impact on the Islands.
The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai; Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Health & Family Welfare, Power, Telecommunications, Road Transport & Highways, Port Shipping & Waterways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Members of NDMA, CISC, Integrated Defence Staff, Directors General of IMD, Coast Guard and NDRF. Chief Secretaries and other senior officers of the concerned States and UT also attended.