The document stressed on the need for immediate measures, citing state’s vulnerability as multi-hazard prone area
SRINAGAR: Had the government approved and implemented the draft State Disaster Management policy, 2011, much of the devastation caused by the September flood could have been avoided.
Prepared by the department of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, the draft drew attention to several past natural disasters in the state— 2005 earthquake, snow blizzard in Waltengo and flash floods in Jammu— to exemplify how J&K is a “multi-hazard prone state”.
Of the 100 districts in India identified as multi-hazard districts, 13 are in J&K alone, the document noted, while calling for an immediate need to begin disaster risk reduction activities.
It also identified low-lying areas of Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu as flood prone. All these areas suffered extensive damages in the September deluge.
The disasters in the past clearly demonstrate the need for an effective mechanism for disaster management at the state and lower levels, the draft said.
The draft stressed the need for having Emergency Operation Centers in every district that will pool in resources and coordinate with the State Disaster Management Authority and disaster management authorities at the divisional and district levels.
Stressing on the audit for all development projects, the draft says, the SDMA should ensure that all departments have carried out the disaster management audit for all development projects so that risk of disasters can be reduced. It also called for advance warning centres for floods, cloudbursts and snow-storms.
Although, the draft suggested that all the bodies constituted for the disaster management should be made functional within one year, nothing has been done yet, nor did the government check dams, power projects, bridges and other key infrastructure for vulnerability checks as recommended by the draft.
Importantly, the draft had mentioned that facilities such as hospitals, schools, grid stations, which are important for post-disaster management, shall be retrofitted. But most of these facilities in were rendered useless during the recent flood.
The fate of the draft policy is itself in question. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Rohit Kansal told Kashmir Reader that the government will implement it on the ground only after the Finance Commissioner, Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation approves the draft after figuring costs and funding.