MP Sujeet Kumar praises Odisha government’s role in disaster management

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Odisha (India), June 12: The office of Rajya Sabha MP Sujeet Kumar organised a webinar on promoting climate resilient infrastructure in Odisha on Saturday. Delivering the introductory speech, MP Kumar emphasised on the vulnerability of Odisha in climate related risks, mentioning how the state had come a long way in resilient disaster management since the damage caused by the super cyclone of 1999. He also said how his government was open to suggestions that would reform climate resilience further.

Kamal Kishore of NDMA pointed out how Odisha had done a great job with saving lives but still had miles to go in saving livelihoods and infrastructure.

He further said that the financing of infrastructure should be such that it would encourage resilient infrastructure. Kishore stated that there should be risk assessment for any infrastructure to the point where not only present disasters were taken into account but future disasters would also be handled with proper resources.

The question of maintaining and promoting ecological infrastructure was also raised, wherein Kishore proposed a coexistence between ecological and economic infrastructure. He also emphasised on integration in infrastructure, reforming such infrastructures in context of each other, as opposed to developing each one in a vacuum.

During the webinar, several points on various pertinent issues were raised, starting with how Odisha’s placement plays a gigantic role in the extreme climate changes it experiences, the same playing a substantial role in the state’s flood vulnerability.

Subsequently, various solutions were suggested, starting with how the Odisha government’s use of resilient infrastructure, albeit expensive, had saved several key functional substructures from damages in cyclones such as Amphan and Yaas. Emphasis was also laid on how humanistic approach of the government was when it comes to disaster management, where it was stated that the primary goal of the government during any such climate-based disaster is the zero-casualty model at any cost, where no life is compromised.

As people were shown to be key stakeholders in any disaster, the concept of community participation was introduced, with the discussion on ‘public-private-community’ taking the centre stage. It was mentioned that no matter the climate disaster, everyone suffers the same, and therefore even the private sector joins in on reforming and moving towards resilient infrastructure.

Among others, Dr Kamal Lochan Mishra of OSDMA, Abha Mishra of UNDP, Dr Ambika Nanda of Tata Steel and Jyotiraj Patra from Oxfam and Prof Kamala Kanta Dash of Sri Sri University also spoke. 

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