Disaster is a crisis situation that far exceeds the capabilities
.- Quarentelly, 1985.
Despite the rapid development of technologies human being is not capable enough
to withstand power of nature. Disasters are as old as history. Though mankind
developed certain traditional measures to meet the calamities, those are
appeared to be not effective all the time. Industrialisation and urbanisation's
expanded the human civilisation which in turn forced him to encroach the nature
and exploiting it beyond the limit leading to environmental degradation.
indiscriminate tampering with the environment eventually resulted in
catastrophes. Disaster knows no class. It affects all alike. Over the past
decades there is a substantive increase in disaster loss in developing
countries. Eventually it adversely affects the economic ability of these
countries. WHO has given a broad definition to 'disaster'.
According to the definition of WHO a disaster is a serious
disruption of the functioning of a community or a society that causes widespread
human, material, economic, and environmental losses. These losses generally
exceed the ability of the affected community or society to resolve with only its
Therefore the broad objective of the disaster management policy
are to minimise the loss of lives, social and community assets and contribute to
sustainable development and a better standard of living for all, more
specifically for the poor and vulnerable sectors by ensuring that the
development gains are not lost through natural calamities /disasters. In the
introductory part of this paper the authors discuss the conceptualisation of
disaster management in India.
They further examine efficacy of the disaster
management in the country by analysing institutional mechanism established in
India under the Disaster management Act 2005. Finally the authors attempt to
highlight operational flaws in our disaster management in the back drop of the
recent tragedy in Uttaraghand.
Over the past decades there is a substantive increase in disaster
loss in developing countries. Eventually it adversely affects the economic
ability of these countries. WHO has given a broad definition to 'disaster'?
According to the definition of WHO a disaster is a serious disruption of the
functioning of a community or a society that causes widespread human, material,
economic, and environmental losses. These losses generally exceed the ability of
the affected community or society to resolve with only its own
Therefore the broad objective of the disaster management policy are
to minimise the loss of lives, social and community assets and contribute to
sustainable development and a better standard of living for all, more
specifically for the poor and vulnerable sectors by ensuring that the
development gains are not lost through natural calamities /disasters. Happening
of these catastrophes highly depend on the vulnerability of those regions to
disasters. Simply put, roots of vulnerability can be traced under the following
Generally Disasters can be classified into two:
- Natural disasters. Example � earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc.
- Man Made disasters. Example � war, bomb blasts, chemical leaks, etc.
The phases of all disasters be it natural or Man Made, are the same. The
disasters often differ in quantity of damage caused or in quality of the type
of medical consequences. For example earthquakes cause a lot of physical injury
and fractures, floods cause drowning deaths and infections, chemical leaks cause
toxic manifestations, etc.
Institutional and Policy Framework
India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its
unique geo-climatic conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and
landslides have been frequent phenomena. About 60% of the landmass is prone to
earthquakes of various intensities; over 40 million hectares is prone to floods;
about 8% of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68% of the area is
susceptible to drought. In the decade 1990-2000, an average of about 4344 people
lost their lives and about 30 million people were affected by disasters every
As far as India is concerned Disaster management is not a novel
concept. Even in ancient India droughts were successfully managed through
conventional water conservation methods. Indigenous safety measures have been
found out by the people. Drought-oriented farming methods are still prevalent in
many parts of our country.
Post Independent India witnessed certain right move in this
direction. Several schemes such as Drought Prone Area Program (DPAP), Desert
Development Program (DDP), National Watershed Development Project for Rain fed
Areas (NWDPRA) and Integrated Water Development Project (IWDP) have been
introduced. Interestingly the subject of disaster management is not mentioned in
any of the three lists in the Indian Constitution. In India Disaster management
is a part of the Right to sustainable development. The Supreme Court has given a
broad definition to disaster management in N.D.Jayal v. Union of India
In the word's of Honorable Justice Rajendra Babu Disaster management means all
aspects of planning , coordinating and implementing all measures which are
necessary or desirable to prevent ,minimise ,overcome, or to stop the spread of
a disaster upon the people or any property and includes all stages of rescue and
immediate relief. It is a proven fact that lot of human suffering and misery
from large number of disasters can be mitigated by taking timely actions,
planning and preventive measures. It is possible only through well functioning
disaster management framework.
This will enable us to minimize, control and
limit the effects of disaster and will streamline the disaster management
exercises. Our present relief centred re-active approach after the striking of
disaster need to be changed into preparedness oriented pro-active attitude. This
is the aim of pre-disaster preparations. Disaster Management Plans has to play
an integral role in this exercise. They are blue prints for the management of
disasters. The Disaster Management Plans should contain the aspects of disaster
prevention and of ways for its management in the untoward occurrence of a
disaster. A proper plan will place the disaster management exercise on a more
.....Disaster Management activities should be
integrated with the developmental activities. Incidentally, this is also the
resolve of the Yokohama Strategy of the United Nations International Decade of
Natural Disaster Reduction, to which India is a party. There is an affirmative
obligation on the part of the State to preserve and protect human life and
property. This obligation is an integral element in fulfilling developmental endeavours.
Therefore, disaster management cannot be separated from sustainable
A high power committee on Disaster management was constituted in 1999. Committee
recommended that at least 10 percent of plan funds at the national, state and
district levels be allocated and apportioned for schemes that specifically
address areas such as prevention, reduction, preparedness and mitigation of
disasters. Presently several Institutions like the Ministry of Home
Affairs (Disaster Management Division), National Institute for Disaster
Management (New Delhi), Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA),
Orissa State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Disaster Mitigation
Institute (Ahmedabad) etc are working particularly on disaster management theme.
It was the impact of Tsunami in 2004 that catalysed the approach of
the law makers in India to legislate on disaster management. Thus in India, the
Disaster Management Act was passed in 2005.
It provides for the constitution of
the following institutions at national, state and district levels:
- National Disaster Management Authority
- State Disaster Management Authorities
- District Disaster management Authorities
- National Institute for Disaster Management
- National Disaster Response Force
According to the Act, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
was established in 2006 with Prime Minister as its ex officio chairman. Major
roles that the NDMA is expected to perform are: policy making, approve national
Disaster Management plan, formulate guidelines to be followed by Central
ministries and state authorities, and stretch its helping hand to other
countries affected by major disasters. Thereafter the National Executive
Committee (NEC) developed National Policy of Disaster Management, which was
approved in 2009. Though India has faced major disasters National Executive
Committee of NDMA has not been convened in between 2008 and 2012.
At the national level, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal
Ministry for all matters concerning disaster management. The Central Relief
Commissioner (CRC) in the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal officer to
coordinate relief operations for natural disasters. The CRC receives information
relating to forecasting/warning of a natural calamity from India Meteorological
Department(IMD) or from Central Water Commission of Ministry of Water Resources
on a continuing basis.
The Ministries/Departments/Organizations concerned with
the primary and secondary functions relating to the management of disasters
ndia Meteorological Department, Central Water Commission, Ministry of
Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Rural
Development, Ministry of Urban Development, Department of Communications,
Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Petroleum,
Department of Agriculture & Cooperation.
Ministry of Power, Department of Civil
Supplies, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
Planning Commission, Cabinet Secretariat, Department of Surface Transport,
Ministry of Social Justice, Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry
of Environment and Forest, Department of Food. Each
Ministry/Department/Organization nominates their nodal officer to the Crisis
Management Group chaired by Central Relief Commissioner. The nodal officer is
responsible for preparing sect oral Action Plan/Emergency Support Function Plan
for managing disasters.
National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)
Cabinet Secretary, who is the highest executive officer, heads the
NCMC. Secretaries of all the concerned Ministries /Departments as well as
organizations are the members of the Committee The NCMC gives direction to the
Crisis Management Group as deemed necessary. The Secretary, Ministry of Home
Affairs is responsible for ensuring that all developments are brought to the
notice of the NCMC promptly. The NCMC can give directions to any
Ministry/Department/Organization for specific action needed for meeting the
Crisis Management Group
The Central Relief Commissioner in the Ministry of Home Affairs is
the Chairman of the CMG, consisting of senior officers (called nodal officers)
from various concerned Ministries. The CMG'sfunctions are to review every year
contingency plans formulated by various Ministries/Departments/Organizations in
their respective sectors, measures required for dealing with a natural
disasters, coordinate the activities of the Central Ministries and the State
Governments in relation to disaster preparedness and relief and to obtain
information from the nodal officers on measures relating to above. The CMG, in
the event of a natural disaster, meets frequently to review the relief
operations and extend all possible assistance required by the affected States to
overcome the situation effectively. The Resident Commissioner of the affected
State is also associated with such meetings.
Control Room (Emergency Operation Room)
An Emergency Operations Centre (Control Room) exists in the nodal
Ministry of Home Affairs, which functions round the clock, to assist the Central
Relief Commissioner in discharging his duties. The activities of the Control
Room include collection and transmission of information concerning natural
calamity and relief, keeping close contact with governments of the affected
States, interaction with other Central Ministries/Departments/Organizations in
connection with relief, maintaining records containing all relevant information
relating to action points and contact points in Central Ministries etc., keeping
up-to-date details of all concerned officers at the Central and State levels.
Contingency Action Plan
A National Contingency Action Plan for dealing with contingencies
arising in the wake of natural disasters has been formulated by the Government
of India and it had been periodically updated. It facilitates the launching of
relief operations without delay. The CAP identifies the initiatives required to
be taken by various Central Ministries/Departments in the wake of natural
calamities, sets down the procedure and determine the focal points in the
State Relief Manuals
Each State Government has relief manuals/codes which identify that
role of each officer in the State for managing the natural disasters. These are
reviewed and updated periodically based on the experience of managing the
disasters and the need of the State.
The policy and the funding mechanism for provision of relief
assistance to those affected by natural calamities is clearly laid down. These
are reviewed by the Finance Commission appointed by the Government of India
every five years. The Finance Commission makes recommendation regarding the
division of tax and non-tax revenues between the Central and the State
Governments and also regarding policy for provision of relief assistance and
their share of expenditure thereon. A Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) has been set up
in each State as per the recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission.
size of the Calamity Relief Fund has been fixed by the Finance Commission after
taking into account the expenditure on relief and rehabilitation over the past
10 years. The Government of India contributes 75% of the corpus of the Calamity
Relief Fund in each State. 25% is contributed to by the State. Relief assistance
to those affected by natural calamities is granted from the CRF. Overall norms
for relief assistance are laid down by a national committee with representatives
of States as members.
Different States can have State specific norms to be
recommended by State level committee under the Chief Secretary. Where the
calamity is of such proportion that the funds available in the CRF will not be
sufficient for provision of relief, the State seeks assistance from
The National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF)
It is a fund created at the Central Government level. When such
requests are received, the requirements are assessed by a team from the Central
Government and thereafter the assessed requirements are cleared by a High Level
Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. In brief, the institutional
arrangements for response and relief are well established and have proved to be
robust and effective.
In the federal set up of India, the basic responsibility for
undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures in the event of a
disaster is that of the State Government concerned. At the State level,
response, relief and rehabilitation are handled by Departments of Relief &
Rehabilitation. The State Crisis Management Committee set up under the
Chairmanship of Chief Secretary who is the highest executive functionary in the
State. All the concerned Departments and organisations of the State and Central
Government Departments located in the State are represented in this Committee.
This Committee reviews the action taken for response and relief and gives
guidelines/directions as necessary.
A control room is established under the Relief Commissioner. The control room is
inconstant touch with the climate monitoring/forecasting agencies and monitors
the action being taken by various agencies in performing their responsibilities.
The district level is the key level for disaster management and relief
activities. The Collector/Dy. Commissioner is the chief administrator in the
district. He is the focal point in the preparation of district plans and in
directing, supervising and monitoring calamities for relief. A District Level
Coordination and Relief Committee is constituted and is headed by the Collector
as Chairman with participation of all other related government and non
governmental agencies and departments in addition to the elected
The Collector is required to maintain close liaison with the
district and the State Governments as well as the nearest units of Armed
Forces/Central police organisations and other relevant Central Government
organisations like Ministries of Communications, Water Resources, Drinking
Water, Surface Transport, who could supplement the efforts of the district
administration in the rescue and relief operations. The efforts of the
Government and non-governmental organisations for response and relief and
coordinated by the Collector/Dy. Commissioner.
The District Magistrate/Collector
and Coordination Committee under him reviews preparedness measures prior to a
impending hazard and coordinate response when the hazard strikes. As all the
Departments of the State Government and district level report to the Collector,
there is an effective coordination mechanism ensuring holistic response.
New institutional mechanisms
As has been made clear above, the existing mechanisms had based on
post-disaster relief and rehabilitation and they have proved to be robust and
effective mechanisms in addressing these requirements. The changed
policy/approach, however, mandates a priority to full disaster aspects of
mitigation, prevention and preparedness and new institutional and policy
mechanisms are being put in place to address the policy change.
It is proposed to constitute a National Emergency Management Authority at the
National level. The High Powered Committee on Disaster Management which was set
up in August, 1999 and submitted its Report in October, 2001, had interalia
recommended that a separate Department of Disaster Management be set up in the
Government of India. It was; however, felt that conventional
Ministries/Departments have the drawback of not being flexible enough especially
in terms of the sanction procedures.
The organisation at the Apex level will
have to be multi-disciplinary with experts covering a large number of branches.
The National Emergency Management Authority has, therefore, been proposed as a
combined Secretariat/Directorate structure � a structure which will be an
integral part of the Government and, therefore, will work with the full
authority of the Government while, at the same time, retaining the flexibility
of a field organisation.
The National Emergency Management Authority will be
headed by an officer of the rank of Secretary/Special Secretary to the
Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs with Special Secretaries/Additional
Secretaries from the Ministries/Departments of Health, Water Resources,
Environment & Forests ,Agriculture, Railways, Atomic Energy, Defence, Chemicals,
Science &Technology, Telecommunications, Urban Employment and Poverty
Alleviation, Rural Development and India Meteorological Department as Members of
the Authority. The Authority would meet as often as required and review the
status of warning systems, mitigation measures and disaster preparedness. When a
disaster strikes, the Authority will coordinate disaster management activities.
The Authority will be responsible for:
- Coordinating/mandating Government's policies for disaster
- Ensuring adequate preparedness at all levels in order to meet disasters.
- Coordinating response to a disaster when it strikes.
- Coordination of post disaster relief and rehabilitation.
The National Emergency Management Authority will have a core permanent
secretariat with three divisions � one for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation
&Rehabilitation, the other for Preparedness and the third for Human Resource
At the State level, disaster management was being handled by the
Departments of Relief & Rehabilitation. As the name suggests, the focus was
almost entirely on post-calamity relief. The Government of India is working with
the State Governments to convert the Departments of Relief &Rehabilitation into
Departments of Disaster Management with an enhanced area of responsibility to
include mitigation and preparedness apart from their present responsibilities of
relief and rehabilitation. The changeover has already happened in eight State
Governments/Union Territory Administrations. The change is under process in
The States have also been asked to set up Disaster Management
Authorities under the Chief Minister with Ministers of relevant Departments
[Water Resources, Agriculture, Drinking Water Supply, Environment & Forests,
Urban Development, Home, Rural Development etc.] as members. The objective of
setting up an Authority is to ensure that mitigation and preparedness is seen as
the joint responsibility of all the Departments concerned and disaster
management concerns are mainstreamed into their programmes. This holistic and
multidisciplinary approach is the key to effective mitigation.
At the district level, the District Magistrate who is the chief
coordinator will be the focal point for coordinating all activities relating to
prevention, mitigation and preparedness apart from his existing responsibilities
pertaining to response and relief. The District Coordination and Relief
Committee is being reconstituted/re-designated into Disaster Management
Committees with officers from relevant departments being added as members.
Because of its enhanced mandate of mitigation and prevention, the district heads
and departments engaged in development will now be added to the Committee so
that mitigation and prevention is mainstreamed into the district plan. The
existing system of drawing up preparedness and response plans will continue.
There will, however, also be along term mitigation plan. District Disaster
Management Committees have already been constituted in several districts and are
in the process of being constituted in the remaining multi-hazard prone
Similarly, we are in the process of creating Block/Taluq Disaster
Management Committees in these 169 multi-hazard prone districts in 17 States. At
the village level, in 169 multi-hazard prone districts, we are constituting
Disaster Management Committees and Disaster Management Teams. Each village will
have a Disaster Management Plan. The process of drafting the plan has already
begun. The Disaster Management Committee which draws up the plans consists of
elected representatives at the village level, local authorities, Government
functionaries including doctors/paramedics of primary health centres located in
the village, primary school teachers etc.
The plan encompasses prevention,
mitigation and preparedness measures. The Disaster Management Teams at the
village level will consist of members of voluntary organisations like Nehru Yuva
Kendra and other non-governmental organisations as well as able bodied
volunteers from the village. The teams are provided basic training in
evacuation, search and rescue etc. The Disaster Management Committee will review
the disaster management plan at least once in a year.
It would also generate
awareness among the people in the village about dos' and don'ts for specific
hazards depending on the vulnerability of the village. A large number of village
level Disaster Management Committees and Disaster Management Teams have already
The States have been advised to enact Disaster Management Acts.
These Acts provide for adequate powers for authorities coordinating mitigation,
preparedness and response as well as for mitigation/prevention measures required
to be undertaken. Two States [Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh] have already enacted
such a law. Other States are in the process. The State Governments have also
been advised to convert their Relief Codes into Disaster Management Codes by
including aspects of prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
In order to further institutionalize the new approach, the
Government of India have decided to enunciate a National Policy on Disaster
Management. A draft policy has accordingly been formulated and is expected to be
put in place shortly. The policy shall inform all spheres of Central Government
activity and shall take precedence over all existing sect oral policies.
broad objectives of the policy are to minimize the loss of lives and social,
private and community assets because of natural or manmade disasters and
contribute to sustainable development and better standards of living for all,
more specifically for the poor and vulnerable sections by ensuring that the
development gains are not lost through natural calamities/disasters.
The policy notes that State Governments are primarily responsible
for disaster management including prevention and mitigation, while the
Government of India provides assistance where necessary as per the norms laid
down from time to time and proposes that this overall framework may continue.
However, since response to a disaster requires coordination of resources
available across all the Departments of the Government, the policy mandates that
the Central Government will, in conjunction with the State Governments, seek to
ensure that such a coordination mechanism is laid down through an appropriate
chain of command so that mobilization of resources is facilitated.
The broad features of the draft national policy on disaster management are
- A holistic and pro-active approach for prevention, mitigation and
preparedness will be adopted for disaster management.
- Each Ministry/Department of the Central/State Government will set apart
an appropriate quantum of funds under the Plan for specific schemes/projects
addressing vulnerability reduction and preparedness.
- Where there is a shelf of projects, projects addressing mitigation will
be given priority. Mitigation measures shall be built into the on-going
- Each project in a hazard prone area will have mitigation as an essential
term of reference. The project report will include a statement as to how the
project addresses vulnerability reduction.
- Community involvement and awareness generation, particularly that of the
vulnerable segments of population and women has been emphasized as necessary
for sustainable disaster risk reduction. This is a critical component of the
policy since communities are the first responders to disasters and,
therefore, unless they are empowered and made capable of managing disasters,
any amount of external support cannot lead to optimal results.
- There will be close interaction with the corporate sector,
nongovernmental organisations and the media in the national efforts for disaster
- Institutional structures/appropriate chain of command will be built up
and appropriate training imparted to disaster managers at various levels to
ensure coordinated and quick response at all levels; and development of
inter-State arrangements for sharing of resources during emergencies.
- A culture of planning and preparedness is to be inculcated at all levels
for capacity building measures.
- Standard operating procedures and disaster management plans at stateand
district levels as well as by relevant central government departments for
handling specific disasters will be laid down.
- Construction designs must correspond to the requirements as landowning
relevant Indian Standards.
- All lifeline buildings in seismic zones III, IV & V � hospitals, railway
stations, airports/airport control towers, fire station buildings, bus
stands major administrative centres will need to be evaluated and, if necessary,
- The existing relief codes in the States will be revised to develop them
into disaster management codes/manuals for institutionalizing the planning
process with particular attention to mitigation and preparedness.
With the above mentioned institutional mechanism and policy frame
work in position and the actions taken to implement the policy guidelines, it is
expected that the task of moving towards vulnerability reduction will be greatly
DM a lip service?a criticism in the back drop of Uttaraghand disaster
''Kedarnath has become a ghost town with scores of bodies burried
under the earth brought by rain and floods
'' expressing its concern over the
recent tragedy in Uttarakhand the Supreme Court said.The Court asked NDMA to
file a status report on rescue and relief operation in flood -devastated
Uttarakhand. Moreover as of late our National Disaster Management Authority was
severely criticised by the CAG report. Criticism has been levelled against the
NDMA in the backdrop of Utharaghand disaster.
It is said that inadequate flood
mitigating measures and lack of early warning system raised the death toll. CAG
points out that there had been a lack of coordination between government
agencies engaged in rescue operations."In this audit, we found that despite
considerable progress in setting up institutions and creating funding
arrangements, there are critical gaps in the preparedness level for various
disasters," the CAG report said. Due to its improper planning, projects are
abandoned mid way or lying incomplete.
Because of their lackadaisical approach, until mid-2012, the
National Executive Committee (NEC) had not prepared India's National Plan for
Disaster Management. Moreover the Working Group it formed in 2007 never met
after its inception. According to the CAG report, till 2012 there were only
seven states that had set up State Disaster Management Authorities. Most of the
north-eastern states that are also prone to natural disasters do not have SDMA.
Theoretically, we have incorporated disaster mitigation into our
developing process. Such an approach is founded on the conviction that
development is not sustainable unless disaster mitigation is built into it. New
policy gives more emphasis to the disaster mitigation based on the belief that
investing in mitigation is more cost effective that relief or rehabilitation.
This approach has been translated into a National Disaster Framework which
includes institutional mechanisms, disaster prevention strategy, early warning
system, disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and human resource
development. In other words a paradigm shiftfrom a relief centric to a holistic,
multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach involving diverse scientific,
engineering, social and financial processes.
NDRF also was not free from CAG's criticism. The CAG report cited
the response to the 6.9 magnitude earthquake which stuck Sikkim in September
2011, indicating the lack of training and resources of rescue teams ie the
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The report blames that the force was
not yet established as a well equipped, well trained specialised one".
It is alleged that NDMA has failed in establishing proper
communication system for disaster preparedness and management. Media Reports
portray the apathy of NDMA as one of the reasons behind why no immediate relief
and rescue work was possible in the flash flood-hit upper reaches of Uttarakhand.CAG
blames the Government saying that though 34 crore had been spent on installing
the system, when flash flood struck at Utharakhand, the Doppler weather
radar for surveillance and monitoring of extreme weather events was not in
use. It is alleged that the causalities would have been less had the
Uttarakhand Govt implemented the 2005 Act properly. A PIL has been filed in the
Supreme Court alleging failure in implementing the Disaster management Act 2005
in its true spirit. In that PIL the petitioner points out lack of a uniform
policy for compensation to the victims of disasters in the country.
An apex bench headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik sought response from the
Central Government, the states and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar
Islands on this PIL alleging that the various governments have failed in
implementing the act in its fullest sense. Seeking response SupremeCourt issued
notice to the governments of Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh,
Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat.
On the PIL filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, which claimed
that seven states, where natural calamities have wreaked havoc periodically,
have not yet implemented the Disaster Management Act more than eight years after
the legislation was put in place to ensure quick reaction and adequate rescue
The petitioner sought a direction to the Centre to "grant adequate
and reasonable ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life, damage to houses
and for restoration of means of livelihood to victims of flash floods in
Uttarakhand under the Disaster Management Act" and rehabilitate those who were
orphaned and widowed.Further he sought a direction to the National Disaster
Management Authority to issue necessary guidelines to other states to implement
the DM Act in letter and spirit.
It is undisputed that launching of development projects in disaster
prone areas without proper impact assessment and public participation will
intensify the gravity of the disaster.
Repercussions of chaotic town planning,
forest and environmental clearance for developmental projects in a haphazard
manner are hazardous. Prompt response of our apex judiciary in this regard is
distinctive and estimable.
Taking into account these concerns the Apex Court
prohibited setting up of any new hydroelectric power project in Uttrakhand and
directed the Centre to constitute an expert body to study environmental
degradation caused by such projects. Further the court directed the Ministry of
Environment and Forest to constitute an expert body consisting of
representatives of the state government, WII (Wild Life Institute of India),
Central Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission and other expert bodies
to make a detailed study as to whether hydroelectric power projects existing and
under construction have contributed to the environmental degradation, if so to
what extent and also whether it has contributed to the present tragedy occurred
at Uttarakhand in the month of June.
Most often calamities wipe out massive population from the earth.
Though technology has increasingly developed it is an aphorism that still man is
not capable enough to withstand the powers of nature.The failures to manage the
disasters properly enhance the casualties. Failure of communication and early
warning systems, immediate and speedy rescue operations and opening of
rehabilitation centres, lack of proper medical treatment etc further add to the
gravity of the disaster. In ecologically sensitive regions, disaster management
should be a priority. The Uthrakhand experience exposed that India has failed to
take adequate precautionary measures in case a disaster occurred.
We are always
very late in exact prediction and finding out the actual cause of the disaster.
Even if we trace out the actual cause, we are mute in taking further steps.
India, from south to north and east to west experience different climate,
geography and topography different regions are vulnerable to different types of
calamities. Every year thousands will die and even more will suffer the
aftermaths of calamities.
It is the failure of the disaster management that
enhance the mortality rate. Both union and state governments are all the time
irresponsible in their duties in proper handling of the disaster affected
different regions. States like Odisha and coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu are worst affected by cyclones, Gujarat and some other states are
earth quake prone areas, monsoon always bring flood affecting the normal life of
the people. All these factors are crystal clear.
NDMA as well as SDMA are not
ready to learn lessons from their previous experience with disaster management.
They wake up only when disaster occurs and not ready to take precautionary
measures, which will, to a great extend, save the lives of many. The government
should take measures to ensure that fragility is not disturbed. Effective
disaster management should rely on a thorough integration of emergency plans at
all levels of government and nongovernment involvement. Activities at each level
(individual, group, community) affect the other levels.
Written By: M.Prabhakaran,
- AIR 2004 SC 867.
- Available@http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/04/24/india-disaster-management-audit-cag- dINDEE93N0F420130424.
- When will we learn to manage disaster?' ChetanChauhan& Zia Haq ,
Hindustan Times July 06, 2013.Available @
- A Doppler radar is a specialized radar that makes use of the Doppler
effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance. It does this by
beaming a microwave signal towards a desired target and listening for its
reflection, then analyzing how the frequency of the returned signal has been
altered by the object's motion. This variation gives direct and highly
accurate measurements of the radialcomponent of a target's velocity relative
to the radar. Doppler radars are used in aviation, sounding
satellites, meteorology, police speed guns,radiology, and bistatic
radar (surface to air missile).
- The Times of India,Jul 20, 2013
- available @ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-20/india/40695133_1_centre-and-uttarakhand-pil-recent-flash-floods
Ml., Assistant Professor, Dr.Ambedkar
Global Law Institute, Tirupati