The Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) should be involved in the Smart Cities project right from the conceptualisation stage. Inaugurating the NDMA’s 12th Formation Day function here today, Shri Hansraj Ahir said NDMA’s contribution to the project will help avert disasters such as the urban flooding phenomenon that recently brought cities like Chennai and Hyderabad to a standstill.
Shri Hansraj Ahir also called upon the NDMA to involve students from reputed institutes such as the IITs that helped safe evacuation of residents of low lying areas during the recent floods in southern India. Referring to the forthcoming Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), 2016 that India will host in November, 2016, the Minister said we should place before the delegates from all over Asia a state-of-the-art infrastructure including communication network such as the wireless and satellite communication to tackle emergency contingencies in the event of natural and manmade disasters striking us.
Welcoming the participation of NGOs and delegates from the Indian Council for Agricultrual Research (ICAR), Shri Hansraj Ahir called upon the NDMA to deliberate a strategy to deal with crop epidemics. Recalling that India is a densely populated country with a diverse geography, the Minister expressed satisfaction that the country is now better equipped to handle calamities.
Addressing the gathering, Shri RK Jain, Member, NDMA said the Authority has identified heatwave as an emerging challenge since it caused more than 2,400 deaths last year, the casualties being much higher than flooding or any other recurring natural disaster in recent years. He said India took a big leap forward in Disaster Management with the unveiling of the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the 1st of June this year. With this, India became one of the first countries to align its National Plan to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), he added.
Shri Jain said the NDMA has undertaken the Earthquake Disaster Risk Assessment of 50 cities in the country and the Earthquake Disaster Risk Index of these cities will be published shortly. Under the National Disaster Management Services, safe communication has been set up in all States and 80 most vulnerable cities covered under the first phase of the programme which will be subsequently rolled out across other districts.
On the occasion, Shri Hansraj Ahir released a special issue of NDMA’s newsletter ‘Samvad’. Dr. DN Sharma and Lt. General (Retd.) NC Marwah, both Members, NDMA, Shri RK Pachnanda, Director General, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Smt. Mamta Kundra, Joint Secretary, NDMA and Senior Officers of MHA, NDMA, NDRF, Ministry of Defence and as many as 16 States are attending the daylong function.