Announcing ex-gratia of Rs.4 lakh for victims’ families of seven state specific disasters, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday asked officials to take feedback from people living in vulnerable areas while preparing for possible floods.

"I would suggest the department to have a foolproof feedback mechanism directly from people living in vulnerable areas and people’s representatives. This is very important," Patnaik said while presiding over the state-level committee on Natural Calamities here.

He was referring to water resource department’s estimation of 241 weak points along various river embankments.

As many as 241 weak and vulnerable points have been identified on different river embankments out of which 14 are considered critical, the Water Resources department informed the committee.

Though IMD has predicted deficient rainfall during this monsoon, Patnaik said many parts of the state had so far received good rainfall. "However, we have to remain in full state of preparedness to encounter both drought and flood situaions," he said.

Patnaik also pointed out that the agriculture department would have to make necessary crop planning for farmers in the event of possible drought.

He also directed the water resources department to ensure all past breaches in river embankments were repaired and adequate materials stored near weak and vulnerable points.

"The department should get a certificate in this regard from concerned officers," Patnaik said.

If there was a flood situation, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) as well as the Fire Service must be in readiness to undertake rescue and relief operation, he said adding, coordination for deployment of National Disaster Response Force had to be ensured.

While asking the departments concerned to ensure pre-positioning of adequate food materials and other essential commodities in vulnerable and inaccessible areas, Patnaik said provision for supply of cattle feed, arrangements for supply of drinking water, health and hygiene should be made.

The engineering departments must remain in preparedness for immediate restoration of public utilities and essential services if there was a flood, Patnaik said.

Meanwhile, the state government has declared eight calamities as state specific disasters. They are- lightning, heat wave, whirlwind, tornado, heavy rain, boat accident, drownining, and snakebites.

"The next of kin of the deceased of state specific disaster will get an ex-gratia of Rs.4 lakh each barring the case of heatwave," Patnaik said.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress, who attended the meeting, said, "The ground reality is totally different from what government says. Farmers affected by a drought in 2011 are yet to get compensation."