NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the preparedness for Cyclone Yaas with the chief ministers of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and LG of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and asked them to ensure power backup in all Covid-19 hospitals, laboratories and vaccine cold chains, besides seeking safety of around a dozen oxygen generation plants dotting the eastern coast.
At the video-conference meeting – also attended by MoS (home) Nityanand Rai; Cabinet secretary; secretaries of various Central ministries and chief secretaries of the states concerned; representatives of NDMA, Integrated Defence Staff & CISC; and DGs of IMD, Coast Guard and NDRF – Shah advised the states/UT concerned to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals, keeping in view likely disruption of movement of vehicles.
He suggested that temporary hospitals be secured from losses and arrangements made for advance evacuation of patients, where necessary. The home minister said the advance action taken recently on the Western coast for Cyclone Tauktae had ruled out adverse impact on any medical facility.
Particularly concerned about effect of the cyclone on the nearly two dozen oxygen generation plants on the eastern coast, which incidentally have been fulfilling the oxygen needs of many other states/UTs, Shah asked the CMs of West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to ensure their safety.
He advised the states to plan in advance by 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.
The home minister emphasized the need to make necessary arrangements for safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and health facilities.
Not only this, as underlined by the Prime Minister during the review taken by him on Sunday, Shah stressed on the need for timely restoration, electricity and water supply and telecommunication in affected parts of the state, particularly as many Covid-positive persons are under home isolation.
The safety of all shipping and fishing vessels, ports and oil installations in the area was reviewed, with Shah asking the concerned states and UT to ensure that all fishermen are brought back to shore and there is 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 educating and motivating people.
Appreciating Odisha’s good track record in cyclone preparedness and management, the home minister suggested that volunteers, such as home guards, NCC and civil defence may be mobilized to help in the evacuation of people.
The home minister advised the state/UT governments to pre-position required manpower, equipment and material at vulnerable locations.
Shah also advised the state/UT governments to be in touch with the India Meteorological Department for their advance warnings and updated forecasts.
He assured the States/UT of all cooperation of the Central government and its agencies, saying the 24×7 control room in MHA may be contacted at any time for assistance and reinforcements like Armed forces or para-military personnel, including NDRF rescue teams.
The home ministry on Monday said Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had thanked the Centre for extending assistance to the state and assured that all necessary steps had been taken by his government to manage the cyclone. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said necessary steps are being taken to ensure that there is minimal loss of life and property due to the impending cyclone.
Andhra chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said necessary precautions were being taken. Lt. Governor of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands D K Joshi informed Shah that the cyclone would have little or negligible impact on the Islands.