| File picture of houses damaged in the 1999 super-cyclone |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 20: Cutting across party lines, members of the Assembly today demanded construction of more cyclone and flood shelters in the vulnerable areas of the state.
Cyclone shelters were built in six coastal districts of the state after the 1999 super-cyclone, which had devastated Odisha’s coastal belt and claimed more than 7,000 lives.
Similar temporary shelters were also constructed in flood-prone zones in nine vulnerable districts following the 2007-08 floods.
Disaster management minister Surjya Narayan Patro said the state government was reviewing the requirement of cyclone and flood shelters from time to time. “If necessary, more cyclone and flood shelters will be built,” he said.
Patro said that 132 cyclone shelters had been constructed by the Odisha Disaster Mitigation Authority in six coastal districts, while another three were under construction.
IIT, Kharagpur, had identified sites located within 10sqkm of the seacoast for construction of the shelters, he said.
Red Cross had also built 65 cyclone shelters in the state, while as many as 10,042 school buildings were constructed in the super cyclone-devastated areas out of the assistance received from World Bank, the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Chief Minister’s Relief fund. These buildings will serve as shelters for people during natural disasters.
Besides, 150 more cyclone shelters have been sanctioned under the World Bank-funded National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Programme, said the minister, adding that sites had been identified for this.
Surendra Paramanik (Congress), Jiban Pradip Dash (BJD) and others demanded a fresh survey by IIT, Kharagpur, for selecting sites of more cyclone shelters.
Several members from western Odisha, including Padmanabha Behera (BJD) and Anup Kumar Sai (Congress), urged the government to construct flood shelters also in the Mahanadi basin.
“Construction of more flood shelters will be taken up in phases. District collectors have been asked to identify locations in flood-prone areas across the state,” said the minister.