Bhubaneswar: Super Cyclone in 1999, Cyclone Phailin in 2013, Cyclone Hudhud in 2014, Cyclone Titli in 2018, Cyclone Fani in 2019, Cyclone Amphan in 2020 and now Cyclone Yass in 2021. What is common among all these cyclones is they have all hit Odisha – they have wrecked havoc in Odisha Coast. In the last two decades, Odisha has come a long way in managing the natural disasters. From more than fifteen thousand deaths in 1999 to zero casualties in 2021 is not a small achievement. Odisha today symbolizes a state that is resilient – that can face challenges. The international accolades for its efforts in saving lives and standing steady in the face of calamities are not void – they prove that the state has really come up to a stage where others can learn a lot. In the last two decades, Odisha has championed the cause of disaster mitigation and showed the world that nothing is impossible if there is a will and the leadership cares for its people. This transformation in Odisha is possible just because the state is led by none other than Naveen Patnaik, the unparallel leader.
Today, when the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came to Odisha to review the impact of Cyclone Yaas on Odisha, a new chapter in the federal history of the country was added. During the review meeting, Odisha did not ask for any financial help from the Center – a never before approach in the country. At a time when the states heavily depend on the center and ask for financial assistance during emergencies, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said “As the country is at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, we have not sought any immediate financial assistance to burden the Central Govt and would like to manage it through our own resources to tide over the crisis.” This is such an occasion which will be written in golden letters in the history of India. To put it in simple words – Odisha has arisen.
Naveen’s decision to not ask for any immediate financial assistance shows that the state has the capability to face the disasters. It has learnt how to manage calamities. Naveen’s mission zero causality has been successful in the last there occasions when the state also saw minimal loss. Naveen’s statesmanlike step today not only amazed his admirers but the critics also. As many times earlier, Naveen today made a statement in favour of the country. When the country is going through a critical phase fighting the Covid-19, he did not want to bother the center by asking for resources. With this Naveen has demonstrated the power that lies beneath his calmness. His decision can be said to be the best practical decision taking into consideration the management of the cyclone Yass. The state successfully evacuated more than even lakh people in just two days and restoration work completed by almost 90 percent in the next 48 hours of the cyclone. Under the leadership of Naveen, Team Odisha has succeeded. The team that consists best of the minds in the form of be able bureaucrats and the people centric ministers.
The second aspect of today’s review meeting is asking the center for long term solutions to the problem of cyclones and the aftermath destructions. Naveen asked the center to help the state in long term measures such as disaster resilient power infrastructure and resilient coastal protection with storm surge resilient embankments. A practical need of the hour for Odisha. These long term efforts can m mitigate the impact of cyclones on the northern districts frequented by cyclones.
Today’s developments are nothing but the extension of Naveen’s charisma as a national statesman. While he is the undisputed leader and treats every citizen of his state as his family member, he also has the highest esteem for whole of the country. When the second wave of the pandemic was it its peak, he told the prime minister to take care of the states that really needed the vaccines. When the nation grappled with Oxygen scarcity, Naveen took the mantle onto himself to help the country. Oxygen supplied from Odisha has saved thousands of lives in the country. In a democratic country like India where, states fight for themselves, Naveen has concerns for the Country as a whole. This is what makes him the true statesman and a true leader of the masses.