Centre steps up restoration of power & telecom in cyclone-hit Odisha

Let us not deviate from the basics to hold brief for a system caught napping

Samikhsya Bureau

Stepping up efforts to restore the power and telecommunication network in cyclone affected Odisha, the Centre on Tuesday  further reviewed the ongoing  rescue and relief measures in the state in the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has released a further assistance of Rs 1,000 crore to Odisha, as announced by the Prime Minister on Monday after  an aerial survey of the state. Earlier, Rs 341 crore had been provided to the State as an advance to its State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

Stressing on early restoration of power infrastructure, the Odisha Government informed that following deployment of additional manpower and materials from Central Public Sector Units and neighbouring states, power supply has been restored partially in Bhubaneswar, while a lot of ground still needed to be covered in Puri.

“Power supply to maintain essential services such as water, health and banking is being provided through diesel generator sets as of now and  land line  telephone connectivity has been restored in Puri, though mobile services still remain skeletal,” a senior Government functionary said.

Department of Telecommunications is coordinating with the State Government to implement a priority plan for restoration of mobile and internet services in the affected areas.

“Mobile service providers have allowed free SMS and intra circle roaming in these areas. Cellular towers on wheels are also being deployed in Puri,” the NCMC was informed.

Banking services have started and efforts are being made to operationalise all ATMs.

The Registration dates of the JEE Advanced examinations is extended by five more days up to May 14 in the State. Those students who are unable to get internet connectivity, can approach IIT Bhubaneshwar for registration.

Reviewing the relief measures, the Cabinet Secretary stressed that power and telecommunications in Puri and Bhubaneswar need to be restored on a priority basis and directed the concerned State and Central officials to work in close coordination. He  also directed that adequate number of generator-sets and mobile cellular towers be arranged and provided for the restoration efforts.

The Chief Secretary and other senior officers of Odisha participated in the NCMC meeting through video conference. Senior officers from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Power, Telecommunications, Steel, Financial Services, Road and Transport, Health, Higher Education and NDMA also attended the meeting.