20 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: Odisha will have the rare privilege of hosting the inter-nation mock drill of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations to prepare against natural disasters.
Odisha has been chosen by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for the exercise which will have representation from the seven BIMSTEC countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
The exercise which will be undertaken at Ramchandi near Konark in Puri district will be executed by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the nodal agency.
"This is a joint exercise by seven BIMSTEC nations-Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India. These seven countries have a common experience of different types of disasters, the most common ones being flood and cyclone," informed Satya Narayan Pradhan, Director General (DG) NDRF briefing reporters at the Lokseva Bhawan here today.
Pradhan said that this exercise is something like net practice in games so that when disaster hits one is fully geared to tackle it.
"It's a matter of pride; Odisha has been selected for the exercise by NDMA. Odisha was selected for its experience and successful handling of disaster management. The most important thing is that apart from experience and excellence we have plenty of heritage sites here like the golden triangle of Konark-Puri and that too in a coastal area. This special combination can be experienced by us in Odisha, and that's the reason why Odisha was selected,” he added.
Giving details of the event, Pradhan said that the exercise will be held from February 11-14.
"The event will be inaugurated here at the Mayfair Hotel which will be followed by tabletop or theoretical exercise. 16-20 persons will participate in the exercise from each of the seven countries. On the second day, all the delegates will leave for Ramachandi in Puri wherein a mock-up village will be created near the sea. Simulation of flooding and earthquakes will be undertaken here as part of the exercise which will also have a temple. This will be real-time exercise so that in times of disaster BIMSTEC countries can have proper coordination among themselves," he added.
Later in the day, Pradhan met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Lokseva Bhawan.
The NDRF DG informed that during his discussions with Patnaik, Odisha has put up a proposal for setting up temporary NDRF points at Nabarangpur and Burla which would reduce response time.
He said that a decision in this regard will be taken within a few weeks.