Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jammur:: SDMA has no resources to deal with calamities

Jammu, Apr 10: Hit by two floods in a span of seven months, Jammu and Kashmir’s State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) does not have resources or infrastructure to deal with any calamity and is dependent on other agencies. 
This was disclosed by the government in reply to a question raised by Dr Shehnaz Ganai in the legislative council. 
In a written reply to the query, minister for relief and rehabilitation, Basharat Bukhari, admitted that SDMA has no resources or infrastructure of its own. “SDMA utilizes infrastructure or resources available with various government departments and civil defence, SDRF, NDRF, Air Force, police, paramilitary and private persons etc.. as and when required for rescue operations,” he said, adding, “Establishment of two Emergency Operation Centers one each at Jammu and Srinagar with all necessary facilities to meet the emergent situations are under active consideration.” 
He said, “These operation centers shall be made fully equipped so that it can operate as a full-fledged control room to monitor the disaster and provide logistical support during any calamity.” 
Bhukhari added that two battalions of State Disaster Response Force have been established in the state, and sufficient numbers of tents, blankets, tarpaulin are available in the state. 
Meanwhile, advocating the necessity of strengthening capacity building, the minister said, “As per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the NDRF/SDRF and District Disaster Management Authorities have been constituted for which an amount of Rs 6.523 crore has been sanctioned and released during 2014-15 to various agencies for components under capacity building, including empowerment of community-which is the first responder to any disaster situation,” he said, adding “The government is providing training to the members of community to create awareness about the disasters and to equip them with the training skills to face the hazards.” 
He said that significant focus has been given to the conduct of special training programmes for the officers at state, district and block level regarding disasters. 
He informed that the State Disaster Management Plan has been prepared in consultation with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and is in its final stages. 
To other part of the query, the minister said, “As and when the State Disaster Management Plan is adopted and Disaster Management Plan of districts is approved, panchayat level committees will be constituted. Extensive training programmes will be conducted for PRIs/ULBs to make them active part of the response contingent.” 
On a query seeking information about the budgetary provision for activities related to Disaster Mitigation Fund and Disaster Response Fund, the minister said that as per the 13th Finance Commission, an amount of Rs 952.93 crore was approved for J&K to be utilized during the last five years. 
“Now the 14th Finance Commission Award has been announced and the funds to the tune of Rs 1409 crore have been allocated for the years 2015-20 for capacity building and mitigation of disasters,” he said and added that the expenditure from these funds are required to be incurred in accordance with the items and norms approved by the Government of India from time to time and for capacity building

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