Cabinet Secy to hold daily meetings on Cyclone Phailin

With Cyclone 'Phailin' hours away from hitting the coast of Odisha, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth today took stock of the preparedness of various Central agencies assigned to provide relief to those affected and restore normalcy in the aftermath.

Top officials from the ministries of Home, Defence, Petroleum, Telecom, Health, Food, Railways, Drinking Water and Sanitation participated in the meeting, which will now be a daily affair to ensure "proper coordination", official sources said here.

Representatives of the respective state governments were also present in the confabulations.

The sources said the preparations to deal with the situation were in "full gear" and the various central ministries have already set up 24x7 control rooms to keep a tab on the evolving scenario.

The Telecom and Petroleum ministries have put in place men and material on ground to deal with shortage of fuel and breakdown of infrastructure after the landfall of the cyclone, which is now 150 km from the coast.

Railways have deployed 12 diesel locomotives to ensure movement of trains in emergency as overhead cables to run electric locomotives could get damaged by high winds.

At least three days supply of diesel, petrol and LPG cylinders have been stocked at retail outlets.

Stock of other essential items, including ration, has also been assured to take care of people in the aftermath, the sources said.

While health teams have been deployed to help the state governments, adequate supply of basic medicines has been ensured.

While, Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are already present with rescue equipment, aircraft could only be operated after the winds subside.

So far, nearly 4.40 lakh people have been evacuated from danger zones in the two states. "This can be the second biggest evacuation exercise undertaken since 1990 when six lakh people were evacuated in Andhra Pradesh," NDMA Vice-Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy told reporters here.

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