State Disaster Management Authority Revamping for Future
There is an old saying that it is not the hazards that kill but the ill-preparedness and lack of awareness that converts a hazard into a killer disaster. While Himachal Pradesh falls in Seismic Zone 5 which is defined as a dangerous damage risk zone hence disaster management becomes of paramount importance. Though the common man of the state is not so familiar with the term disaster management yet he is today aware of earthquakes, landslides, flash floods etc. The state of disaster management in Himachal Pradesh may have an indefinite past and an imperfect present but given the indulgence and thrust of the state government in zipping up infrastructure and shoring up awareness standards, it can surely and definitely look forward to a better future. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is working on a two-pronged strategy to raise disaster management standards on the one hand and providing necessary skills and training with best infrastructure, on the other. Vice-Chairman of State Disaster Management Authority Rajender Rana is hopeful that put together, these measures would surely help the force to hone their skills, firm up their mental fibre and strengthen their physical ability. He further revealed that the state government had earlier sent a proposal to the central government for setting up a battalion of NDRF in the state as the nearest battalion of NDRF was based in Bathinda (Punjab). At the time of exigencies it took time to reach the spot. The state government was also ready to provide land in Nurpur as per requirements. But due to some practical and technical problems the matter has been shelved. Instead the central government has approved setting up of two companies – one based in Junga in district Shimla and one at Dharamshala in district Kangra. “The matter is on high priority of the state government and is at final stages,” said Rana.
Working harder still on the second leg of the strategy, the Authority has conceived a number of plans and projects for providing best standard infrastructure and equipments to enable it to meet every emergency. He further stated that in a meeting of the authority held on July 14, 2014 it was decided to have our own disaster management force. “Modalities have been worked out and scope of work has been assigned to the State Police to train 30 home guard jawans in every district to meet any eventuality,” says Rana. For this purpose, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has released Rs one crore to purchase necessary hi-tech equipments. The Authority has also decided in principle to train SDRF within three months and would be ready to meet any emergency. The force will comprise of 300 personnel including deputationists from police department and new recruits. The authority has also a plan to train NSS, NCC volunteers of the state by spending crores of rupees on their training.
Considering the proneness of the state of natural hazards, a broad district-wise vulnerable status has been devised. Vulnerability matrix is based on the qualitative weightage given in the scale of 0.5 for different hazards. Hence, district-wise matrix has been prepared keeping in mind risk severity. In fact, hazards can often be mitigated by a comprehensive, systematic, emergency-preparedness program to response effectively to emergencies.
Earthquakes Biggest Threat for Himachal: Dr. Ritesh Arya
According to Dr Ritesh Arya, an international fame geologist the hazard which however, poses biggest threat to Himachal is the earthquake hazard. The state has experiencd more than 80 earthquakes having a magnitude of 4 and above on the Richter Scale as per the recorded history. As per the BIS seismic zoning map five districts of the state, namely Chamba (53.2%) Hamirpur (90.9%), Kangra (98.6%), Kullu (53.1%), Mandi (97.4%) have 53 to 98.6% of their area liable to the severest design intensity of MSK IX or more.
The state’s ups and downs this week
‘Skoch Order of Merit’ Award for Software
Hamirpur: The software developed by Hamirpur district administration has found place in Top 100 e-governance projects for 2015. Named Hot Dak Trekking System (HDTS), the software developed by Hamirpur district administration has been selected for the award ‘Skoch Order of Merit’. Deputy Commissioner Hamirpur Rohan Chand Thakur has been called along with his team by the Skoch Group in New Delhi. According to sources 300 projects were presented in three day seminar at Delhi. The Skoch Group had cross-examined the software and thus called the DC for national citation. Notably the software was developed by the Hamirpur district administration with the technical support of the National Informatics Centre. The system tool was designed for faster and effective monitoring of the progress of the development works and tracking the daily post of the office. The software enables officers to prioritise important dak. It aims to quicken the speed of communication along the command chain downwards and on its return upwards. The step will help in better e-governance and management of the DC office and the subordinate offices, including SDMs, tehsildars and heads of various departments.
New Buses Fail to Ease HRTC Situation
Shimla: The inclusion of hundreds of new buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) existing fleet of 2255 has failed to bring much difference. The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee of the Union Urban Development Ministry had approved the purchase of 800 buses at an estimated cost of Rs 202.1 crore with the first installment of Rs 90.93 crore being received on June 16, 2014. The purchase orders were issued within 20 days and 632 new buses were added to the fleet. 515 “star Marco Polo’ buses out of a total of 632 buses received have been allocated to 27 depots of all the districts except tribal districts Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, which have not been covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Besides JNNURM buses, about 250 buses have been purchased by the HRTC and in all 882 buses have been allotted to the HRTC. However there are 713 buses with zero book value and these are more than 10 years old. The vehicles are being phased out and replaced. So, if the situation is analysed, the HRTC has not gained anything.