Apex industry body ASSOCHAM led by its President, Mr Vineet Agarwal and secretary general, Mr Deepak Sood together with representatives from eastern region councils participated in a meeting convened by a high-powered panel comprising Union Ministers, senior government officials and representatives from various central and state agencies to review preparations for Cyclone Yaas.
In a review meeting to assess the possible impact of the cyclone Yaas and preparedness of all stakeholders, under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, and Food & Public Distribution, Mr Piyush Goyal, ASSOCHAM shared suggestions as part of preventive measures to tackle potential adversities due to the cyclone.
Noting that collaboration between the Centre and states is running at an optimum level, Mr Goyal said, “Both central and state governments are working together hand-in-hand to ensure a very orderly planning, relief and rehabilitation measures in wake of cyclone Yass.”
He said that similar effort gave very good results during cyclone Tauktae as positive feedback and confidence building measures came out of a similar meeting during cyclone Tauktae. “Owing to the active participation of all various stakeholders, I think by and large we were able to handle the ‘very severe’ cyclone Tauktae well. Those who did not listen to the instructions that were given, there were some casualties, some unfortunate events for which all of us feel extremely sad,” he said.
He urged various stakeholders to ensure completely zero casualty situation and added, “We must ensure that relief material gets properly channelised and the real beneficiaries get the same post cyclone also.”
He said that there is a need to ensure there is minimum outage of power and communication. “Industries should keep support staff on standby to coordinate with authorities to ensure rescue and help can reach on time.”
Highlighting the preparedness of Indian Railways, the Minister said, “Railways has made elaborate plans and arrangements. We have also kept lot of rescue equipment on standby like accident relief trains, medical relief vans, electric tower wagons and well-equipped diesel locomotives have been kept ready at strategic locations with mobility options to tackle trouble spots. Coaching trains have been cancelled in a large measure so that nobody is caught in the cyclone. Food, water, medical aid has also been kept ready at important stations.”
The top-level meeting also saw presence of Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya along with senior officials from the respective ministries and agencies including National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy who shared their respective views on preparation and response for cyclonic storm Yass that may hit Odisha and West Bengal coasts on May 26.
Highlighting the steps taken by his ministries, Mr Pradhan stated that as a precautionary measure all vital installations and major industrial units of steel and petroleum ministries along the east coast will be operating on minimum manpower for next 2-3 days.
He also assured that there will be no lack of supply of life-saving medical oxygen by steel industry to hospitals and health facilities to states even in the aftermath of the cyclone.
Mr Mandaviya, in his address emphasised that apart from preparedness, both communication and coordination among all agencies is equally important.
The ASSOCHAM President assured the government of working together with all the concerned agencies to ensure that least disruption is caused by the cyclone amid Covid-19 pandemic.
“Apart from the region being hit, the residual impact of cyclone is on a much-much larger area. Thus, there is a need to monitor and see that there is not much of an impact on north-Bengal due to cyclone Yass so that there is limited impact on north-east,” said Mr Agarwal.
He added, “Besides, east being a very important region for raw material supply for many industries, if there is any disruption that will have an impact on some of the process industries, so that is another area to keep a watch on.”
The ASSOCHAM chief also suggested use of more technology to help get more real-time and proper information on the cyclone and its path.
Mr Sood commended the government for being proactive and convening such meetings which is helpful for industry to prepare itself in view of such calamities. “Coordination and collaboration between all stakeholders are the only way forward, and government at the centre and in states need to work together with industry to ensure that impact is minimised.”