NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday held a meeting over video conferencing with the chief ministers of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh along with 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.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shah specifically reviewed and re-iterated to the states and Union Territory 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 the 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.
Shah 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.
Shah asked the state governments to ensure the safety of oxygen generation plants. He also emphasized the need to make necessary arrangements for the 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 were 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,” it said.
As practiced by Odisha, volunteers, such as Home Guards, NCC and civil defence may also be mobilised in helping in the evacuation of people, Shah said.
The Union Home Minister stressed on the need to ensure the safety of power and telecommunication services and their timely restoration. He advised the sstate 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.
“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,” advised Shah.
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 maximum resources, both government and private, should be utilised to tackle the situation.
The Union Home Minister re-iterated that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India will be able to successfully handle the impending cyclone.
Shah said 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 ccentral 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 and 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, Nityanand Rai; Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, Power, Telecommunications, Road Transport & Highways, Port Shipping and Waterways, Petroleum and 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 states and UT concerned also attended the meeting.