oppn parties Cyclone Fani: Responding To Nature's Fury

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  • The government decides to decriminalize more than two-thirds of penal sections in the Companies Act
  • Muslim groups tell the Supreme Court that they want the Babri Masjid to be restored
  • Muslim groups claim that while they were asked questions in court, Hindus were not questioned
  • Postpaid mobile services restored in Jammu & Kashmir from today, but still no internet
  • Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American currently a professor at MIT, wins the 2019 Noble prize in economics jointly with two others
  • Industrial output slumps in August as the IIP shrinks by 1.1%
  • Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a cultural show at the Shore Temple in Mamallapuram
  • J&K administration lifts the ban on entry of tourists in the Valley, but it remains doubtful how many will visit without being able to use mobile phones and internet
  • After Sena asks members to support the BJP candidate in Kalyan, 26 party corporators and 300 members resign setting off a crisis
  • The Centre sets up a 12-member committee to suggest systemic changes in the GST structure to improve compliance and collection, prevent misuse and evasion and rationalize rates and slabs
  • In line with the RBI outlook on the Indian economy, rating firm Moody's also downgrades growth forecast from 6.8% to 5.8% this year, saying the economy is experiencing a pronounced slowdown
  • HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh says the financial system in India does not offer foolproof security for misuse of the savings of the common man
  • Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, promoters of Ranbaxy and Fortis, arrested for their role in Religare Finvest scam
  • Supreme Court says marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down irretrievably
  • DA of Central government staff hiked by 5% to 17%
Sourav Ganguly is the new president of BCCI, says conflict of interest is a big concern
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Cyclone Fani: Responding To Nature's Fury

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Cyclone Fani expectedly made landfall at Puri in Odisha on Friday. Although it left destruction in its wake, it also showed how India has moved ahead in its disaster management efforts. The cyclone lost its sting while approaching the coast – wind speeds were expected to touch 200-225 kmph but in the end, lashed the coastline at only 150 kmph. But that, along with heavy rain, was bad enough to uproot trees, electric poles and cause extensive damage to kuccha houses in Puri district and other coastal areas of Odisha. The houses of the SP and DM of the worst affected district were also badly damaged.

But if one compares the damage done by the super cyclone in 1999, when more than 10000 people were killed and the countryside was devastated, India has faced Fani with much better preparedness. Only 6 people (8, according to some reports) were reported dead and just 160 were admitted in hospitals for cyclone-related injuries. The new regional hurricane model of the Indian Meteorological Department could track the cyclone with pinpoint accuracy and predict the landfall and the movement of the cyclone much in advance. This allowed the Centre and the state government to galvanize the local administration and the disaster management teams, including 65 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to put their best foot forward in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

More than 12 lakh people were evacuated in the three states from coastal areas that were likely to be most affected. Casualties at sea were prevented through repeated warnings and enough storm shelters were provided. Teams have been deputed for road clearance to keep relief work going in case of blocks due to falling trees and poles. Dry food is being rushed in to help the local people and there is a special emphasis on maintaining law and order. The army has also been kept ready in the three states to help the civil administration in case of an emergency. The weakened cyclone has now moved to West Bengal with wind speeds of 90-100 kmph.

The focus must now shift to relief and rescue. The devastation caused by nature needs to be attended to and the damage needs to be repaired. The poor, as always, will bear the brunt of nature’s fury. Their houses need to be rebuilt and they need to be provided with shelter, food and help till they go back to leading their normal working lives. The Centre has already released Rs 1000cr to the affected states for this. Now the local administration and the NGOs must swing into action to reduce the misery the people are going to face.