State Level Conference on “Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation”
Jammu (J&K), February, 10th: Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Monday called for a partnership role between the Government and the general people for a befitting, up to the mark and efficient preparedness plan to face challenges of disasters both imposed by the nature and human beings.
“A well drafted strategy and comprehensive preparedness plan to face the fallouts of disasters is all the more necessary for a State like Jammu and Kashmir falling in seismic zone and confronted with climate related and human imposed eventualities and emergencies”, he said and underlined the need for a close coordination between the Government and the people in this regard.
Inaugurating the 2-day State Level Conference on “Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation” organized by Directorate of Home Guards here, the Chief Minister said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir State have exhibited highest response towards the disaster survivors at the hour of need and emergency as has been witnessed during the 2005 earthquake, snow tsunami in southern Kashmir and flash-floods in Ladakh. He said he has himself witnessed the help provided by the general people to the survivors of earthquake in Uri and Tangdar and to the sufferers of flash-floods in Ladakh and snowstorm in South Kashmir when he visited these areas during the natural calamities.
The Chief Minister said that channelizing this spirit of people into an organized effort to put in place an effective preparedness and management mechanism to combat the fallouts of disasters is the need of hour. He said public involvement in disaster management is the key to protect the life and the property. He said disaster management is not a single way street it requires both the Government and the people to deal with the situation meticulously and help check the loss of life and property in the disasters.
Omar Abdullah also underlined the importance of awareness among the people regarding natural calamities Jammu and Kashmir is confronted with. “People should know their duties and contribute positively towards helping the preparedness strategy to face natural calamities”, he said. He mentioned the need of taking all care while constructed residential houses and making these earthquake resistant. He said government buildings should also have all provisions of protection against fires and earthquakes and every precaution should be made by the users of the infrastructure to prevent these from fires and other accidences.
The Chief Minister said that Government of India while earmarking allocations for the construction of necessary public infrastructure under the centrally sponsored scheme should fix a differential ratio in the funds allotment between the normal States and those situated in seismic range and prone to various kinds of natural calamities. He said this is an important issue which National Disaster Management Authority should take up with the Union Government.
Omar Abdullah said while climate related calamities like heavy rains, snowstorms, tsunamis etc can be predicted and warnings issued accordingly, the calamities like earthquakes are sudden and without any warning. He said Jammu and Kashmir is prone to both climatic calamities and earthquakes as such the task before the State Disaster Management is all the more complex and wide-ranging as such its units should be more responsive, strong and fully prepared to face the challenges effectively. He said such units should be active in all the districts and tehsils in the State.
The Chief Minister said that the Government has already provided two battalions of Disaster Response Force for the disaster management and preparedness activities. He said there is need to have this force at all the districts which can integrate its activities with the volunteers from general people of the area to remain alert to deal with eventualities. He said Government has sanctioned Rs.18 crore for strengthening the activities of Disaster Management Authorities constituted at various levels in the State.
The Conference was also addressed by the Member, National Disaster Management Authority, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmad, DGP Police Coordination, P. L. Gupta and ADGP Home Guards, D. R. Doley.
Minister of State for Home, Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo and Legislator Jahangir Mir was present on the occasion besides prominent experts from the Country and outside who have contributed in the field of disaster management.