The much awaited disaster management authority would be constituted by Himachal, this was told by Himachal CM, according to Himachal government press release. Its such relief to find out that at last HP government is waking up for this much needed authority as Himachal had one of the worst earthquake in history in 1905 in Kangra valley at a magnitude of 8 on Richter scale and took more than 19,000 lives. In recent years also smaller yet powerful earthquakes happened in Himachal and mostly in Kangra valley, with considerable losses to infrastructure. For sure Himachal needs a body which can move faster in earthquake or in any other natural calamity. Every year from flash floods Himachal looses many lives and considerable loss to property. Most of the suffering is took by village folks and their livelihood of livestock is worst affected.
The Himachal Pradesh Government would be constituting the State Disaster Management Authority consisting of experts and professionals to advise the State Government on managing disastrous situations professionally. This was revealed by Shri Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, during discussions with the team of National Disaster Management Authority headed by its member Prof. N. Vinod Chandra, which called on him here today.
Chief Minister said that all the hilly areas were prone to one or the other disasters and need had emerged to create a separate Authority to advise the government on taking precautionary measures to prevent any disastrous movement taking place in any part of the State. He said that his Government was actively considering constitution of the State Disaster Management Authority under his Chairmanship wherein competent team would be incorporated as its members. He said that the State Government would be adopting the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India with modifications suiting to the local conditions of the State for its more effectiveness and practical application.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the State had last massive earthquake in 1905 in Kangra area where thousands of people were buried alive in the debris of their houses. He said that although no such disastrous earthquake had been reported thereafter except some mild tremors which had not affected the life of human being so much but precautionary measures had been taken thereafter to prevent any causality due to the earthquake since the State fell in the seismic zone and prone to the possibilities of earthquakes. He said that his government was already aware of the gravity of situation likely to be caused in the event of such situations and taken best precautionary measures to prevent the same. He said that the upcoming new infrastructures had been directed to be built strictly conforming to the earthquake resistant techniques both in the government and private sectors so that any mishappening was averted by take best possible precautionary measures. He said that no new structure was being permitted for construction unless the same had provisions of earthquake resistant features.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the unprecedented flooding in the Sutlej river had caused havoc as vast damage to life and property was caused, besides washing away dozens of bridges and kilometers of motorable roads. He said that the origin of the flooding was identified to be at Parechoo river originating from China where the flow was blocked by felling of a huge rock resulting into a vast lake. He said that thereafter the State took up the matter with the China Government through Government of India, besides keeping satellite vigil over the developments taking place in Chinese territory. He said that Sutlej river again got flooded and the precautionary steps taken by the State Government had emerged successful in averting any loss to life, since all the villagers in the affected areas were shifted to the safer places, besides warning sirens fixed at all river side villages and setting up of an observation post at the entry point of the river. He said that permanent solution to the problem was being found with the involvement of Government of India.
Chief Minister said that with the setting up of the State Disaster Management Authority the training and awareness programme at large scale would be initiated where law and order enforcing manpower, Home Guards and Fire brigades would be trained besides launching awareness campaigns for the general public. He said that the infrastructure of the State Revenue Institute at Jogindernagar would be utilized for training programmes of a disaster management.
Prof. Menon, apprised Chief Minister of the significance of the Disaster Management Authority in the present day context and the steps initiated by the
Government of India for encouraging states to set up authorities in respective States.
He informed Chief Minister about the mock exercise proposed to be taken in fair of the identified districts of Kangra, Chamba, Sirmour and Kinnaur surveying the buildings, which had no earthquake resistant features. He said that the safety audit of the major towns would also be conducted and people advised to modify their buildings plans to incorporate earthquake resistant features in the same.
Smt. Parminder Mathur, Additional Chief Secretary apprised the team about the disaster management steps initiated by the State Government and its future plans to strengthen the same.
Shri T.G. Negi, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Brig. Khanna, Specialist, National Disaster Management Authority, Shri Diljeet Dogra, Secretary Revenue and other senior officers were also present.