Yaas: Amit Shah asks Odisha, WB, AP CMs to manage power backup at Covid hospitals

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Taking stock of preparedness with the Chief Ministers of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to deal with cyclonic storm Yaas in the Bay of Bengal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday directed them to make adequate power backup arrangements in all Covid-19 hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities.
Shah took the meeting through video conference, and also interacted with the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to assess their preparedness and that of the Central Ministries and agencies, to deal with the situation arising out of cyclone Yaas.
The meeting follows Sunday’s review meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shah advised the states and the UTs to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals, keeping in view the likely disruption in the movement of vehicles.
For health facilities, including temporary hospitals, likely to be affected by the cyclone, the Home Minister advised them to make adequate arrangements for securing them from losses and for evacuation of patients in advance, if necessary.
Shah said advance action taken in this regard on the western coast ensured that there was no adverse impact on any medical facility.
He also reviewed the impact of the cyclone on oxygen generation plants located in West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and advised them to make plans for 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 Minister also asked the state governments to ensure the safety of oxygen generation plants and emphasized the need to make necessary arrangements for the safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and health facilities.
The safety of all shipping and fishing vessels, and all ports and oil installations in the area was also reviewed during the meeting. The Home Minister reviewed the preparedness of the states and UT to ensure that all fishermen are brought back to shore and the 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 educate and motivate people.
As practiced by Odisha, volunteers, such as Home Guards, NCC and civil defence may also be mobilized in helping in the evacuation of people, Shah said.
The Minister stressed on the need to ensure safety of power and telecommunication services and their timely restoration and advised the state governments and the UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to make advance planning and pre-position required manpower, equipment and material at vulnerable locations.
He emphasised on the need to look after the safety of power lines during the cyclone, and to promptly restore any damage that occurs. Further, the Minister said that timely pruning of heavy trees, will help in damage mitigation.
Shah also advised the state governments and Andaman and Nicobar Islands to be in touch with the India Meteorological Department for their advance warnings and updated forecasts.
He assured the states and the UT of all cooperation of the Central government and its agencies and directed senior officers for the same. He said that maximum resources, both government and private, should be utilized to tackle the situation.
In the meeting, it was also informed that a 24×7 control room is functioning in the MHA, which can be contacted at any time for any assistance by the States and the UT.
He said the Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, the Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial sorties.
The Chief Minister of Odisha assured that all necessary steps have been taken by his government to handle and manage the cyclone. The Chief Minister of West Bengal also assured that necessary steps are being taken to ensure that there is minimal loss of life and property due to the impending cyclone, and that the state government is fully prepared.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh said that necessary precautions are being taken. The Lt. Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands informed the Union Home Minister that the cyclone would have little or negligible impact on the Islands.
The cyclone in the Bay of Bengal laid centered at 5.30 a.m. on Monday near latitude 16.3 degree north and longitude 89.7 degree east, about 600 km north-northwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 540 km south-southeast of Paradip (Odisha), 650 km south-southeast of Balasore (Odisha) and 630 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal).
It is very likely to move slowly north-northwestwards, intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during the next 24 hours and into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 24 hours, said the National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department.

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