Chandigarh

Disaster management directorate in Chandigarh does not set up

Punjab News Express | March 30, 2019 11:27 AM

Punjab News Express/Y.S. RANA
CHANDIGARH: Welcome to the Chandigarh Disaster Management, with its ‘performance’ or more accurately, the abysmal lack of it—in dealing with man-made tragedy exposing its defunct status. While city falls in the high sensitive zone IV of earthquake some five years ago it was decided that city should have its own State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and a separate disaster management directorate. And as happens due to lack of will to resolve mired in inefficiency and unaccountability. It is required to be formed as per the central government’ report filed about five years ago.
It was also pointed out that city did not gear up to face large-scale disasters. It does not have a basic directorate for the purpose because of the casual approach of bureaucracy. Experts have been warning the administration that an earthquake of 5-6 at rector scale would cause irreparable damage.
Sources in the administration revealed that the setting up directorate was required as per the central government report filed about more than five years ago—could not see the light of the day because of non-sanction of a relatively amount of Rs two crore.
The official in the administration said that a proposal on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs was sent in 2014 pointing out that city did not have its own SDRF for proper handling and tackling any disaster. Chandigarh depends on SDRF stationed at Bathinda in Punjab.
Chandigarh has state and district disaster management authorities that are controlled and run by bureaucratic bodies. On the ground, a civil defence wing manned by three inspectors is all that exists. Police and Home Guards are requisitioned when required; but lack the training for such exigencies. Hence, raising of its own state disaster response force of trained, well equipped and skilled personnel is the need of the hour.
On February 25, 2015, the administration has written a letter to the joint secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs regarding setting up of separate disaster management directorate of Chandigarh and urged that till the arrangement of funds, one regular battalion of Para Military Forces may be assigned as a disaster management response force for Chandigarh.
In 2012, the Ministry of Home Affairs forwarded its ‘178th Report on Disaster Management in the Country’ and subsequent reminders, the last in April 2014. The MHA communication mandates establishment of a separate disaster directorate having various wings along with an emergency operation centre (EOC).
Equipment for disaster management at present is limited to an ambulance and a van and other thing would have to be requisitioned in case of emergency.
The draft proposal has been approved by the UT adviser since long but it did not see light of the day.

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