TRANSFORMING DISASTER MANAGEMENT

While government’s preparedness to face natural calamities has most of the times been questioned by the people of this state for reasons well fathomed given the past experience be it earthquakes, floods or other natural disasters, the issue being a priority concern deserves to be addressed in the right perspective. It was in this context that Governor Satya Pal Malik rightly called for a comprehensive strategy and tangible measures to deal with flood-like situations in the State with specific reference to Kashmir Valley. Having just taken over as the Administrative head of this state his keenness to address multiple public issues including this one was evident from his significant meeting in the Secretariat in the summer capital Srinagar. Since the monsoon is on with rains having created havoc in many parts of the nation especially in Kerela, the state administrations are expected to be fully prepared to face floods or flood like situations. In such a situation the Governor’s direction to the Department of Irrigation & Flood Control to put in place all the necessary arrangements to effectively deal with any flood-like situations to prevent recurrence of the September-2014 situation is most welcome as people of the state are yet to fully come out of the 2014 deluge. It is a fact that there is a need for fresh review of flood mitigation plans by all the Deputy Commissioners besides speeding up of the process of clearing drainages and strengthening the river banks with special focus on vulnerable spots. Moreover there is a need to take immediate action to fill up any identified additional gaps to thwart any challenge due to floods in future. While Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with mesmerizing scenic beauty it is an irony that earthquakes and floods have exposed the tall claims made by the earlier governments regarding the Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Management despite the State having been flooded with funds for the purpose by the Centre. In this regard social activists have been putting in all sorts of efforts to ensure that the government comes up with a proactive strategy to face any such eventuality. It is quite clear that the preparedness on this front is far from satisfactory despite apprehensions of floods and massive earthquakes in this region. As such the fret and fear of the people of this state in this regard can be fully justified. Therefore it becomes imperative for the present Governor’s dispensation to ensure the best Disaster Preparedness and Management Plan for the State so that there is no scope for the lapses as witnessed in the past. It is high time that the government streamlines its Disaster Management System with main focus on the preparedness aspect. It needs to exhibit utmost competency to deal with available warnings and information followed by preventive and anticipative actions well in time. As emphasized by the Governor last but not the least there is a need for maintaining utmost synergy by various agencies for ensuring tangible results on ground. Since the Governor has shown keen interest in the matter it is hoped that the state will witness a total transformation of the disaster management system during his tenure in the state.