Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik government has decided to make disaster and pandemic management not only part of high school and college curriculum but also an essential skill set for existing and future government employees with the aim to make the state ready to tackle any biological or climatic disaster.
The decision, taken on Saturday, following a cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister to mark the second anniversary of his government’s 5th term, comes in the aftermath of the state’s disaster management machinery blunting the impact of cyclone Yaas—more than 100 tropical cyclones have hit Odisha since 1891—which made a landfall on May 26 and amid its battle with the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed at least 2,686 residents so far.
“From now on, every high school and college student will learn about disaster and pandemic management as part of the curriculum,” said the resolution passed by the council of ministers.
It added that recruitment for state government jobs will require mandatory learning on disaster and pandemic management and each government employee will be trained on the fundamental nature of different kinds of disasters.
Pointing out that the role of elected representatives changes significantly during times of distress, the resolution said that from ward members to the CM, everyone will be trained on disaster and pandemic management. Members of Mission Shakti groups, Vana Surakshya Samitis, and other community-based organizations will also be trained and equipped with the knowledge to make Odisha a leading state in disaster preparedness with the presence of a “Yodha in every home”.
Three persons lost their lives due to cyclone Yaas, which did not inflict any major damages except causing huge amounts of rain in a few coastal districts. Officials and experts credit mass evacuations carried out by Central and state agencies for the low casualty. However, CM Patnaik has demanded that the Centre help the state in creating disaster resilient power infrastructure and a resilient coastal protection framework with storm surge resilient embankments.
Meanwhile, the state water resources department has decided to construct a 380 km long saline embankment to ensure minimal erosion in the six coastal districts of the state.
Engineer-in-chief of the water resources department, Jyotirmaya Rath said the 380-km-long special embankments will be constructed by packing stones in wire mesh. Initially ₹1,944 crore will be spent for the sea embankment project. The government has estimated to spend a total of ₹6,000 crore on the project.