Come July, Odisha can warn the vast population residing along its 480 km-long coast by pressing a single button from a control room in the State capital in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters like a tsunami or a cyclone. The State government is all set to commission the ambitious Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) that would enable loud sirens go off simultaneously from towers at 122 locations by July.
Odisha is the first State in India to have developed an automatic public address system that can be activated along its entire coast. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is also building up such capability to face natural calamities. The sound emanating from the towers can be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km. As many as 122 alert towers have already been constructed. The project is nearing completion. It will be commissioned in July.
The new system will also enable authorities to alert people in smaller pockets, depending on the severity of the disaster. The protocol, which will be developed in due course of time, will help people understand the gravity of situation depending on the number of sirens that would go off from towers.
The project, which is being implemented with assistance from the World Bank, will have towers in 22 blocks under six coastal districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam at an estimated cost of ₹ 82 crore.