NDMA to set up unit in Bangalore

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will set up a company of the disaster management force in Bangalore, which will cater to all types of disasters including nuclear, biological and chemical, NDMA vice president, Shashidhar Reddy has said.

Speaking at a workshop on ‘Best international practices in building resilient cities’ on Monday, Reddy said the emergency management exercise can also be conducted in Bangalore, with cooperation from the State government.

Referring to some of the major disasters that hit the country, such as earthquake in Latur and Killari in 1993, Odisha cyclone in 1999, tsunami in 2004 and now the Uttarakhand flood, Reddy said there was lack of preparedness to tackle disaster in those instances.

The Union government acted only after the tsunami in 2004 and passed the National Disaster Management Act. Subsequently, it set up the NDMA, covering mega cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, which have a population of 20 million.

Reddy termed urbanisation a major challenge. People migrate from rural areas to the cities as the job opportunities in rural areas are too less. He suggested governments to tackle rapid urbanisation by improving the job scenario in rural areas.

He termed flooding a big problem in the mega cities.

“Due to poor drainage system, flooding happens even when there is little rainfall. Based on London's average rainfall of 611 mm, the British had set the same benchmark for Indian cities too, where the monthly rainfall during monsoon reaches 611 mm. This is the reason that people in India are not able to cope with the heavy rainfall. The NDMA has suggested to the governments that it should desilt drains by March 31 every year,” said Reddy. He added that the NDMA has prepared a set of guidelines for disaster management.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah quoted an adage in English, describing disasters as guests who come home without notice. He said the workshop would prove an opportunity to bring the national and international experts on a single platform to share their experience and expertise, knowledge and thoughts in dealing with various threats in the form of disaster which may be encountered on the road of development.

Siddaramaiah said the workshop, which is the first of its kind in the country, would examine in depth the current international best practices employed, not merely to prevent disasters, but also to mitigate their adverse impact on the environment as well as the population.

The State has adopted the Planning Commission’s guidelines to plan for disaster management, he said.

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