The Bold Voice of J&K

Disastrous plan

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The 2013 rains and mud slides which hit north India was an eye opener as far as disaster management was concerned and both State and Central Governments spoke the need for a dedicated force to handle any contingency, calamity. Today when one looks back disaster management still remains in the nascent stage of operations and as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned much is needed to be done to make the agency a self-contained force to tackle the situation. It was former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who approved the first-ever disaster management plan in the State in an effort to reduce the vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters and natural calamities in a more effective manner. Considered to be a vital decision aimed at building capacities to effectively meet furies of nature, he had granted approval to the first-ever State Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) on 31st July, 2015 to reduce the vulnerability to hazards and enhance human and institutional capability to cope with disasters and natural calamities in a more effective manner. Plan was envisaged after the devastating floods of 2014 but the State is yet to learn lessons for the real-time rescue and evacuation. The floods in Kashmir demonstrated how the government is still grossly unprepared to deal with unprecedented natural calamities and Uttarakhand flash floods did not teach us a thing.  The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) which functions under National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and was formed in 2006 worked autonomously in J and K in coordination with other agencies. But in absence of the nodal agency, response to the rescue operations was slow with organisations like NDRF in the picture which lacks such expertise. Many states have not come up with the plan yet and Jammu and Kashmir is sailing in the same boat. Though government may counter the argument, saying that the State had adequate infrastructure in place to deal with any kind of disaster but NDMA officials argue that they can only go so far in pushing states to effectively deal with disaster management since it is a state subject.

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