NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah on Sunday reviewed the preparedness against Cyclone Tauktae with the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat and the administrator of UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, and asked them to ensure that the power supply to hospitals, Covid care facilities and vaccine cold storage chains, or oxygen supplies to critical patients are not disrupted.
At the meeting held via video-conference, Shah specifically raised concern over the safety of health facilities that currently house several Covid patients, including those in ICU requiring critical care. Shah directed the district administration to make sure that there is power back-up at all times in hospitals, laboratories, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities. He suggested that hospitals stock all essential medicines and supplies just in case the cyclone ends up disrupting vehicular movement.
Shah is said to have asked the two states and one UT to evacuate patients from health facilities that fall on the cyclone path, to avert any loss of life or property. For makeshift/temporary hospitals functioning close to oxygen generating plants, the home minister’s advice was that the patients there may be shifted to vacant beds in proper hospitals and ‘pucca’ facilities nearby as the makeshift centres were susceptible to damage due to the strong winds.
The home minister’s video-conference, which followed the review meeting taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, assessed the likely impact of the cyclone on the oxygen generation plants in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Shah directed the two states to make advance arrangements for keeping a buffer stock of oxygen for 2 days and movement of oxygen tankers to the allocated states, so that in case of any disruption, supply to allocated states is not impacted. He also sought safety arrangements at power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the hospitals and health facilities. Particularly concerned about the likely impact of the cyclone on Gujarat’s industrial cluster, he asked the industry to also remain alert and ramp up preparedness.
Shah reassured the states of all possible help from the Centre and its agencies, including deployment of Central forces and NDRF teams. NDRF has deployed 79 teams in the affected states so far, while another 22 teams are kept in readiness.
The home minister on Sunday told the Gujarat, Maharashtra and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu that the home ministry control room was monitoring the situation 24×7 and would arrange and facilitate any assistance sought by them. Directing the district collectors to utilise maximum resources in the government and private sector, he asked them to remain in touch with the private industries on disaster management. The DCs were also asked to closely engage with NGOs and civil society volunteers at the local level.
Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial sorties.
Chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra assured to take all necessary measures, as advised by the home ministry, an MHA release said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday held a parallel meeting of the national crisis management committee (NCMC), attended by the secretaries of home, health and family welfare, power and DPIIT ministries; NDMA member; DGs of IMD and NDRF; chief secretaries of Gujarat and Maharashtra; advisor to Administrator of Daman & Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli, and some district collectors.
Gauba stressed that all measures should be taken to evacuate people in areas affected by the cyclone, so as to ensure zero loss of life and damage. Preparatory arrangements to restore power, telecom and other important services should be ensured.
The chief secretaries of the concerned states apprised the committee of the preparatory measures put in place to deal with the cyclonic storm. Adequate stocks of food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies have been arranged and preparations made to maintain essential services such as power, telecommunications etc, they assured.