The Special Relief Organisation has been created under the Board of Revenue in 1965-66 for relief and rescue operation during and after occurrence of various natural calamities. Since its inception to the present day, the scope of Relief Organisation has been diversified. Now it deals with disaster management i.e. responsibility of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, relief and rehabilitation in connection with natural disasters. It co-ordinates with districts/departments for quick relief and rescue operation, reconstruction and rehabilitation work. It also promotes disaster preparedness at all levels in the State with the assistance of Odisha Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA). Quick response in the natural calamities is the hall-mark of Special Relief Organisation. Recently, the State Emergency Operation Centre has been made operational at Rajiv Bhawan, Bhubaneswar with state of art communication net-work.. The Control Room of Special Relief Organisation at Bhubaneswar is also functioning round the clock from June to November. However, steps are being taken to make the control Room operational round the year.

The Organisation is headed by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) who exercises all administrative and financial powers as Heads of Department. He is assisted by a group of experienced officers and staff. During any natural disaster, the office functions round the clock in a emergency mode.

Powers of Special Relief Commissioner

He shall have authority to call for any information from any Heads of the Department or from field officers of any Department and shall periodically review and coordinate the activities of relief operations if he considers it necessary in the interest of relief operation.

He shall have the authority to requisition the services of Gazetted and non-gazetted officers working in the affected areas for administrating urgent relief measures.

He shall have full powers to sanction detailed schemes approved in principle within the Relief Budget and CRF norms.

He shall exercise full powers to prescribe the headquarters of a Gazetted Government servant employed on relief work.

He shall have authority to empower the Collectors of the affected districts to requisition vehicles of other Departments, whenever needed for efficient execution of relief operation. The concerned Collectors may also be empowered by him to requisition vehicles of the private parities if the situation so demands, on payment of hire charges at the rate paid by the Home (Election) Department, while requisitioning such vehicles for purpose of conducting elections.

Functions of Special Relief Organisation

The activities of Special Relief Organisation extend to eleven natural calamities prescribed by Government of India i.e. Drought, Cyclone, Flood, Fire, Earthquake, Hailstorm, Tsunami, Cloud burst, Landslide, Avalanche and Pest attack.. The activities mainly includes :

To remain in preparedness to meet the contingencies arising out of the above calamities and to arrange relief measures.

To supervise and to provide funds for the rescue and relief operations.

To monitor repair/restoration and rehabilitation work of the damaged properties and habitation.

To undertake long-term measures by coordinating the activities of different Departments in order to minimize the impact of natural calamities and human casualities.

To constantly monitor the daily rainfall recording of 30 districts through-out the year.

To monitor hunger and starvation in any part of the state due to food scarcity on account of any severe natural disaster.

The State Port Engineer who works under the SRC looks after maintenance and deployment of power boats stationed in all the districts for relief and rescue operation during floods.

Calamity Relief Fund

In order to achieve the above objectives, as per recommendation of the 12th Finance Commission a corpus fund, viz "Calamity Relief Fund" (CRF) has been constituted at state level with the sharing of Central and State Government with a ratio of 75:25 respectively. The fund is administered by a Committee named as Committee for Administration of Calamity Relief Fund under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Odisha. Special Relief Commissioner is the member-convener of CRF Committee. Specific guidelines and norms are issued by Government of India in consultation with the State Government from time to time for incurring expenditure for different calamity measures out of CRF to combat approved eleven natural disasters.

National Calamity Contingency Fund

At the time of occurrence of any calamity of rare severity in nature, Govt. of India after assessing the gravity of loss and damages, sanctions funds out of National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) for undertaking relief and rehabilitation measures by the State Govt. The CRF Committee decides on all matters relating to expenditure from CRF and Special Assistance received from Government of India under NCCF.

Officers in position

At present the following officers are in position in Special Relief Organisation.

1

Special Relief Commissioner

Shri Bishnupada Sethi, IAS

2

Additional Commissioner Relief

Shri Mihir Chand Mallick, OAS (SAG)

3

FA-cum- Joint Secretary

Shri Akhila Chandra Naik,OFS

4

Joint Commissioner Relief

Vacant

5

Deputy Relief Commissioner

Shri Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, OAS (SB)

6

Deputy Secretary

Shri Bikramaditya Barik, OAS (JB)

7

Under Secretary & OSD 

Shri Ashok Kumar Das

8

Under Secretary & OSD

Shri Manmath Kumar Mohanty

9

Under Secretary & OSD

Shri Biswanath Naik

10

OSD

Shri Biswanath Sahoo

11

OSD

Shri Rabinarayan Barik

12

OSD

Shri Shyamal Kumar Das

13

State Port Engineer

Shri Ashis Kumar Das

The state being one of the most vulnerable to various natural disasters has encountered one or other severe calamities each year since 1994. Recurrence of repeated disasters has no doubt negated the developmental progress in the state. But Special Relief Organisation is striving hard to mitigate the impact of such disasters and keep the loss of life and property to the minimum through quick response mechanism. Since supercyclone'99 a paradigm shift has been made in the approach to disaster management and auto triggered response mechanism has been put to place from GP level to State level. The result of this has been felt during the recent years.