‘Disaster mgmt to be part of curriculum at graduate level’

  • | Wednesday | 29th November, 2023

DEHRADUN: The three-day Sixth World Congress on Disaster Management began here on Tuesday. Coincidentally, the safe evacuation of 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel was also ongoing, a live example of disaster management, when chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami spoke about the 17-day-long rescue operation and how they kept the stranded workers motivated and provided them oxygen, medicine, food and other essential things.CM said his government will provide land to establish the National Disaster Management Institute in the state."We will request the Centre and in that direction, we will fulfil the requirements desired by the Centre," the CM said. He added disaster management will be included in thecurriculum at the graduation level.Welcoming the delegates including scientists from 50 countries, Dhami said that through the Dehradun Declaration, a message will be sent across the world highlighting the community responsibilities of human society towards nature and its importance in disaster management.CM also released a book Resilient India on how PM Narendra Modi transformed Indias disaster management paradigm. Under the PMs leadership, our entire focus is on improving health services, robust communication systems, all-weather roads, heliport construction and urban planning. We are committed to combating disasters. Natural disasters cannot be prevented, but by implementing better planning we can reduce its impact, CM said.He further said that Uttarakhand is vulnerable to natural disasters which can only be dealt with by a proactive approach. Only an integrated response can reduce damage and casualties. All Himalayan states are vulnerable to natural disasters, and the need of the hour is to share the experiences, research and studies being done across the world in that direction, Dhami stressed.Shomie Sharpe, UN resident coordinator, commended Indias early warning system highlighting the role of technology, GIS systems, sensors, and drones in disaster preparedness. Rajendra Ratanu, NDMI executive director, discussed climate change as a serious issue and stressed the importance of working on disaster risk reduction.We also published the following articles recentlyGovernment mulls setting up dedicated cell to manage tunnel disasterThe delay in rescuing 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi has prompted discussions on the need for a dedicated cell to manage future disasters. This cell would include experts from the road, rail, and Metro Rail sectors to develop standard operating procedures and action plans for swift rescues. With the construction of more tunnels in hill states, such as Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, the need for this cell is even greater to prevent mishaps like avalanches and landslides. Globally, countries like the UK, Austria, and Switzerland have dedicated agencies or academies for tunnelling.Carnival: Disaster response plan to handle crowd surgeDistrict authorities plan disaster management for Cochin Carnival, inspired by Thrissur Pooram. The existing venue cannot accommodate the large crowd, so a disaster management plan will cover all aspects, including crowd management. Participants object to shifting the main event venue from Parade Ground to Veli Ground. An action plan will address transportation, parking, lighting, security, and toilet facilities. Public transport will be ensured, and plans will be made to tap the tourism potential of the carnival.Construction waste dumps a call to disasterIn the heart of the Char Dham road widening project, residents of Manjh Gaon and Vaana Gaon have been grappling with the toxic waste dumped into their villages from the Silkyara tunnels. The ongoing project has faced penalties for improper waste disposal, posing a threat to local streams and rivers, and endangering nearby communities with the spectre of floods. The waste, lacking protective measures, flows into streams during monsoon, polluting water sources for livestock and irrigation. Urgent attention is needed to address the unregulated dumping and exceeded waste quantities in these sites. Construction company authorities claims of adherence to procedures are disputed by local residents.

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