Last year, the state government headed by the then Chief Minister-Late Mufti Mohammad Sayed of strengthening the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and equipping it with all basic necessities, nothing much has been done on the ground.
According to official sources, even when the incidents disasters are on rife in Jammu and Kashmir, the state administration is still grappling with the proper disaster management.
“Last year the chief minister-late Mufti Mohammad Sayed pushed for high tech equipments for preventing losses during any disaster. In this line, one C-band Doppler Weather Radar at Srinagar, 22 Automatic Weather Stations in each district and one surface observatory at Leh was sanctioned,” said sources, adding these instruments were proposed to be commissioned in next two years, but till date no significant development has been made in this regard, besides subtle purchases.
Sources said, “the state still lacks concrete disaster management policy and what is more worrying is that the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and its offshoots at divisional and district levels
are dominated by ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats as inclusion of experts has been overlooked by the government.”
J&K continues to suffer from a glut of natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and fires etc that threaten to affect the lives and livelihood of its citizens.
“To deal with the risk of disaster, in July 2015, CM late Mufti Mohammad approved first-ever State Disaster Management Plan to cope with disasters and natural calamities in a better way,” sources said, adding, “He was also confident about the plan given by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TIIS) Mumbai.”
According to the plan it was mandatory for the new constructions to comply with the building codes of Bureau of Indian Standard and guidelines issued by NDMA, SDMA and DDMAs from time to time. Even government will adopt a multi-pronged strategy to undertake mitigation measures into all developmental projects. Former CM made these remarks in a meeting held by the State Disaster Management Authority.
If topography of the state is seen, it falls under top seismic zone, with maximum chances of disasters, but unfortunately seldom any building, including government, are equipped to fight disaster.
“In hospitals, there are hardly any instruments to fight any disaster, not even fire. In the recent past there has been upsurge in the number of fire incident cases in the hospitals, but not even a single time, a fire extinguishers within the building were used for dousing fire,” sources said and added last month, forests at Trikuta hills caught fire and it took almost 15 to 16 hours to douse it, because the concerned department was not prepared to fight such kind of incidents.
For any type of development projects, it is necessary to have real time weather data of those areas like temperature, wind, humidity. To achieve this it is essential to have dense network of observatories. At present, state has fewer observatories. With the support of the government of India efforts are on to install AWS each in all 22 districts of the state. It was also decided at the higher level that Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) will be established at the divisional and district levels.
Meanwhile, a senior official wishing anonymity said that Disaster Management Centre of J&K IMPA will be upgraded in terms of infrastructure and manpower. Subsequently a State Institute of Disaster Management will be established with the mandate to conduct training and capacity building programmers and will conduct research and development activities.
“Government ensures to develop its own response potential progressively and train and equip the state response forces, community preparedness, training and creation of response catches at various levels,” he said.