Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday emphasised on early warning dissemination system and capacity building for the conservation of cultural heritage sites in Odisha.
“Our heritage sites must be preserved for future generations at any cost as they not only represent our cultural identity, but they are also a driving force of our economy. It is important to undertake adequate documentation, proper identification and grading of heritage sites,” he said.
The CM said this after inaugurating the 2nd BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Disaster Management Exercise-2020 organised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) here.
Referring to the theme of restoration of heritage sites damaged in natural disasters, Naveen said Odisha has a rich cultural heritage dating back to more than 5,000 years. “The BIMSTEC countries are a great repository of ancient heritage with numerous cultural heritage sites susceptible to various kinds of natural disasters. Massive damage to monuments in the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 and in Nepal in 2015 is a reminder of the threat to our heritage sites,” he added.
Stating that Odisha is prone to multiple natural disasters, especially floods and cyclones, the Chief Minister said the state has witnessed more than 100 cyclones since 1891. However, the Super Cyclone of 1999 was a watershed moment that changed the course of disaster management preparations.
“Today, Odisha is well ahead of others in preparedness. It is the first state to set up its own dedicated disaster response force in India. We invested a lot in preparedness, forecasting and resource management with an approach of zero-casualty. Over the years, we have developed immense maturity in the area of disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The UN and international media have hailed our efforts in keeping the level of destructions to a minimum,” he pointed out.
Welcoming the participants to the temple city of Bhubaneswar, the CM hoped that the Disaster Management Exercise- 2020 will prove to be a milestone in safeguarding the cultural heritage of the BIMSTEC region.
Among others, chief secretary Asit Tripathy, DGP Abhay, DG NDRF Satya Narayan Pradhan and, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) GVV Sarma NDMA also spoke on the occasion.
Delegates of 12 countries are participating in the event.