Phailin has left power distribution infrastructure in Odisha in shambles, says NDMA Vice-Chairman Marri Sasidhar Reddy

Cyclone Phailin that battered the Odisha coast left the power distribution infrastructure in shambles and it would take another 15 days to restore normalcy, Vice-Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Marri Sasidhar Reddy has said.

He has urged the governments to go for underground power cables in the coastal areas to minimise the damage. Such projects can be taken up under the World Bank-funded National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project.

Addressing the media here on Thursday after a review of the cyclone-hit Ganjam and Srikakulam districts, Mr. Sasidhar Reddy said the cyclone was devastating. But, unfortunately, the magnitude of the disaster was measured only in terms of human casualty. Phailin drew the attention of academics and governments across the world as it was expected to have a very severe impact. However, we could minimise the casualties, he added.

He praised officials of the Met Department for their accurately predicting the path and structure of the cyclonic storm. “The NDMA has been conducting evacuation drills twice a year since 2009 and this has helped create awareness among people,” he pointed out. “The State governments are in the habit of exaggerating the losses to claim greater relief amounts from the Centre. This has to stop. Guidelines have been drawn up on the procedure of claims and this should be followed meticulously,” he said.

“I met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and urged him to follow the guidelines. I shall be meeting Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and will also advise him accordingly,” the NDMA Vice-Chairman said.

“The Centre has included the NDMA Vice-Chairman in the high-power committee that goes into claims for reliefs from the State governments,” he added.

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