By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, May 29, 2021: Odisha’s Council of Ministers on Saturday decided to make disaster and pandemic preparedness a part of the curriculum of schools and colleges.

Besides, the Chief Minister, elected representatives, government officials and Mission Shakti members, will be trained in disaster and pandemic preparedness.

The resolution passed to this effect by the Council of Ministers says, “The world has changed its perception about Odisha’s ability to deal with disasters in the course of the last two decades. There was a time when we evoked pity. Today, the Odisha model of disaster management draws global admiration.”

With an objective to have a “Yodha” (warrior) in every home of Odisha, the resolution says, “A task force will be formed to carry forward this mission of building a disaster and pandemic resilient Odisha. This will be our biggest preparation for future emergencies.”

“This is a historic step and will enable and empower our future generations to withstand the vagaries of nature, whether it is biological or climatic. Odisha will stand out in saving people’s lives,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, addressing the Council of Ministers on the occasion of the completion of two years into his fifth term in leading the State.

During the past two years, Odisha has faced three cyclones — Fani, Amphan and Yaas. “It comes from our realisation that community preparedness is key to disaster management,” Mr. Patnaik said.

The Council of Ministers emphasised community involvement in disaster preparedness. “COVID-19 has created a new reality for all of us. Unlike a cyclone that comes and goes, the pandemic has brought in two new dimensions of human crisis. One is the inability to put a timeline as to when a crisis will move on. The second is the way a crisis may assume new and unexpected forms,” it says.

According to the resolution, every government employee will be trained on the fundamental nature of different kinds of disasters, and in pandemic management. “Government jobs and recruitment will have a mandatory syllabus on disaster and pandemic management. The role of our elected representatives changes significantly during times of distress. From ward members to Chief Minister everyone will be trained on disaster and pandemic management,” the Ministers resolved.

Training will be imparted to Mission Shakti Groups, Vana Surakshya Samitis and other community-based organisations, and equip them with the knowledge required to manage disasters and pandemics.

Giving emphasis to education and health, Mr. Patnaik said a massive investment of over Rs 8,500 crore in the development of healthcare infrastructure across the State was under progress, and the transformation of 1,000 high schools in the first phase would be taken up this year.

Naveen said that his government’s focus on sports would continue with more than Rs 1,000 crore worth sports development projects taken up, including India’s largest hockey stadium in Rourkela.

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