The Union Health Ministry on Saturday decided to postpone the NEET examination in Odisha, which was scheduled for May 5, following a request from the State government in view of the ongoing rescue and relief operations in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani.
The decision was conveyed to the National Crisis Management Committee that reviewed the ongoing operations in the cyclone hit areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Cabinet Secretary P. K. Sinha held the meeting with the officials concerned through video-conferencing. Among the participants were also senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Shipping, Civil Aviation, Railway, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Telecommunications, Steel, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Food Processing, Health, Fisheries and other departments.
Odisha officials said there was extensive damage to the telecommunications and power infrastructure in Puri, Bhubaneswar and other areas due to the cyclone. However, due to advance precautionary measures taken and large-scale evacuation, the loss of human lives was minimal.
West Bengal reported mild impact of the cyclone, while Andhra Pradesh recorded heavy rainfall and some damage to crops and roads in the Srikakulam district.
The Cabinet Secretary directed the Ministry of Power and Department of Telecommunications to immediately assist the Odisha government in providing electrical poles, gang workmen and diesel generator sets for quick restoration of power supply. The transmission line supplying power to Bhubaneswar is expected to be restored by Saturday evening. The Department of Telecommunications also indicated that mobile services would be restored partially. The Railway, which suffered major damages to its infrastructure, has cleared the mainline for starting partial operations using diesel-operated locomotives.
“ No damages to ports and refinery installations were reported. NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) has moved 16 additional teams for rescue and relief work in Odisha and has removed fallen trees and other obstacles on most of the roads,” said a government statement. Flight operations also resumed at the Kolkata and Bhubaneswar airports on Saturday, said the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Reviewing the relief efforts, the Cabinet Secretary directed expeditious assistance to the people in affected areas, including food, medicines, drinking water and other essential supplies. The Railway and Civil Aviation ministries have made arrangements for free transportation of relief material to the cyclone affected areas.