Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra has asked officials of the Water Resources Department to prepare an action plan for strengthening flood embankments to protect vulnerable areas from tidal surges during cyclones. Mahapatra issued the direction at a high-level meeting on the increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones amid changing climatic conditions, an official release said Wednesday.
The department should identify the vulnerable locations where there would be a probability of the tidal ingress to the land, the chief secretary said. The department was asked to prepare the action plan regarding the highly vulnerable areas within a month, it said. Water Resources Principal Secretary Anu Garg elaborated on the changing coastal characteristics and existing infrastructure for checking tidal surges at the meeting. Development commissioner Pradeep Jena directed the officials to do a scientific assessment of the coastal geophysical features for locating the areas where engineering intervention could be a solution.
The chief secretary also asked the officials to identify the at-risk areas, where a permanent evacuation could be the only scientific solution. The state is the sixth most cyclone-prone area of the world There are also flat terrains with fertile agricultural land with a dense population adjacent to the coastline, Gard said. Odisha faced seven very severe to extremely severe cyclones in the last 10 years, during which the coastal belt witnessed tidal surges of 3.5 metres to 4.5 metres that caused large-scale saline inundation, the release said.
Given the increasing frequency and intensity of the cyclones, there is a necessity of strengthening the embankments, the release said. Mohapatra directed engineers of the department to talk to the people who live close to the sea and have property on the coastline and convince them about the necessity of strengthening the flood embankments. Raising the height of the embankments will save them from tidal surges and inundation in future, he said.