How tech-savvy Andhra came to the aid of cyclone-battered Odisha

Updated 5:42 PM, 13 June, 2019
The Real Time Governance Centre at AP Secretariat

A highly-advanced, real-time monitoring mechanism, perfected by Andhra Pradesh government over years, came in handy for Odisha to effectively tackle the impact of super-cyclone Fani.

The technological prowess of the Real Time Governance Society (RTGS), an e-governance initiative, was on full display as the inputs provided by the Andhra team, manning the command and control centre of the RTGS in Vijayawada, helped Odisha officials take timely action to minimise human loss and damage to property.

Apart from monitoring the status of implementation of various government schemes and development programmes, the key mission of the RTG Centre is to handle emergency situations, including natural calamities, on a real-time basis, leveraging e-governance technology and electronic communication.

The RTG operates round-the-clock with data inputs from CCTV cameras, drones, biometric augmented technology and virtual reality, machine learning technology and Internet of Things (IoT), adopting the most advanced technology of international standards for governance.

Timely help

The Odisha government thanked Andhra Pradesh officials for timely support through RTGS, which helped in speedy evacuation of people from vulnerable areas and putting in place appropriate relief measures.

Odisha chief secretary Aditya Phadi called his Andhra counterpart LV Subrahmanyam and expressed his gratitude to the AP government and the services extended by RTGS, an official release said. “The Odisha government praised the efficiency and accuracy of the RTGS,” the release said.

RTGS, whose command and control system is located in the temporary secretariat near Vijayawada, has been continuously monitoring the movement of Fani, right from the day of its formation, and sending regular alerts to the people as well as the government machinery.

“Ever since it was found that cyclone Fani was moving towards Odisha coast, the RTGS volunteered to extend its support to Odisha and have been interacting with the Odisha government on a regular basis, sending alerts to the state from time to time. We formed a WhatsApp group with Odisha chief secretary and district collectors of the affected districts and shared the forecast of Fani. This helped the Odisha government in stepping up its preparedness well in advance,” the RTGS chief executive officer Ahmad Babu said.

He said the RTGS had an advanced alert mechanism which was helpful in minimising the damage and human loss of lives during the natural calamities. “In the current scenario, we introduced Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) in the cyclone-affected mandals so that there was no mobile network breakdown by coordinating with all mobile service providers. With this, we could continuously be in touch with all the affected people without any trouble,” he said.

Accurate prediction

The accuracy in predicting the exact location of the landfall of Fani, time-to-time alerts issued on the movement of the cyclone and the required precautionary measures to be taken came in handy for the officials in the cyclone-affected districts in handling the situation more effectively, the official said. The RTGS team predicted the direction of the cyclone, location of landfall and wind speeds correctly.

The Command Centre was getting the information from various sources including the IMD and Indian Space Research Organisation. “The predictions by RTGS were accurate with regard Titli, Phethai cyclones earlier and, now, Fani,’’ Babu said.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that the efforts put in by his government for the past five years in developing the RTGS came in handy now. Based on the information provided by RTGS, the Odisha government put the machinery on high alert and intensified its preparedness well in advance.

“We have formed a WhatsApp group with the Odisha CS, Collectors of Gajapathi, Ganjam districts in Odisha and Srikakulam district collector in Andhra to disseminate information about the movement of the cyclone from time to time,” the official said.ow tech-savvy Andhra came to the aid of cyclone-battered Odisha