SDRF will be stationed at Mandi, Arki, and Mubarakpur

Shimla: To generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disasters, the state government has decided to establish State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), on analogy of National Disaster Response Force.

Chief Secretary B.K Agarwal, in a 9th meeting of State Executive Committee (SEC), said that Himachal Pradesh was one of the most multi hazard prone States of the Country. The State faces various hazards like geological hazards, earthquakes and landslides, hydrological hazards such as floods, flash floods and glacial outbursts, besides meteorological hazards, hailstorms, droughts and cloudbursts. Thus it was essential to constitute SDRF in state.

Agarwal said that State Disaster Response Force, consisting of 3 companies from Police will be raised for dealing with disasters and emergencies. He said that each company will have 100 personnel each and for effective response at the time of disaster SDRF stations will be set up in Mandi, Arki, and Mubarakpur. It was also approved to constitute State Disaster Mitigation Fund to take preventive measures for reduction of disasters.

He said that the SDRF will be under overall supervision of the Department of Revenue-Disaster Management Government of H.P. He emphasized on strengthening of volunteers at local level. Trainings and Mock drills will be conducted at district level to spread awareness about the various kind of disasters at the grass root level so that every citizen of the State was well prepared to meet out any eventuality at the time of disaster. He said that local people are the first responders during such situations.

He said that State Executive Committee shall have the responsibility of implementing the National Plan and State Plan and will act as coordinating and monitoring body for management of disaster in the State. They will be responsible to provide directions to any department regarding any actions to be taken in response to any threatening disaster situation. He assures to provide all the necessary technical assistance to all the district and local authorities for carrying out their functions effectively.

Additional Chief Secretary PWD Manisha Nanda said that to create awareness at School level the SEC gave its approval to launch a new project on School Safety to prepare the schools for disasters. She said that in Himachal Pradesh the project was implemented in 200 schools each in Kangra and Kullu districts. Under this project State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) with State Council of Education Research and Traning (SCERT) and Government College of Teachers Education (GCTE) have provided trainings with the help of District Institute of Education and Tranings DIETs to headmasters, principles and lecturers/PGT and teacher training programmes, students competitive activities at district level.

She said that or the first time State Disaster Management Plan for 39 Line department and have been prepared and training calendar for year 2019-20 have been already prepared. She said that for rescue and relief at the time of emergency cadre specialized volunteers team will be created.

Director-cum-Special Secretary (DMC) DC Rana said that State is facing serious threats of earthquake and urgent steps are required to reduce vulnerability and future losses for this DMC has prepared White Paper in Earthquake risk Mitigation in State. He said that a proposal to establish Earthquake early warning system has been submitted. He said that it is decided to take interns in SDMA/DMC from this year onwards. He said that the students pursuing professional qualification with different technical institutions/universities which are directly related to disaster management. The DMC will provide them requisite exposure and will also provide the stipend of Rs. 5000.

He said that Directions were issued to all the Dam Authorities to implement Early Warning and Alert System so that no damage and loss is caused downstream when water is released from dam and reservoirs. All the authorities were also directed to ensure strict implementation of guidelines, issued by Central Water Commission in the year 2014.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Manoj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R.D. Dhiman, Director Information & Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon, ADGP (Home Guards & Civil Defence and Fire Services) Atul Verma, IG Police Himanshu Mishra, were also present among other officers in the meeting.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.