Need to focus on permanent scientific solution for disaster-vulnerable areas: Prabodh Saxena

Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena chaired the 20th meeting of the HP State Executive Committee (SEC) held here today. 

The meeting focussed on plans to examine the vulnerability of different parts of the state to different forms of disasters and specify measures to be taken for their prevention or mitigation.

 It also discussed strengthening the coordinated response in the event of any life-threatening disaster or situation.

The Chief Secretary stated that a memorandum of damage and loss amounting to Rs. 6746.93 has been sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in order to seek assistance from the Centre on August 10.

 He said the Disaster Management Cell has also requested the National Disaster Management Authority to assist the state in carrying out Post Disaster Needs Assessment so that assistance from the central government can be sought for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities.

He emphasized that disaster vulnerabilities of the state must be thoroughly assessed and a permanent scientific solution must be chalked out for flood protection, landslides, earthquakes, and other vulnerabilities.

 As police forces are the first responders, they must be trained for prompt and effective response.

The SEC discussed the need for earthquake retrofitting of selective critical infrastructures, government schools, and community health centers of the state by launching a pilot project in some districts. Issues like strengthening of Disaster Management Cell, District Disaster Management Authorities, Fire Services, Home Guards and Civil Defence, adoption of Model Building Bye Laws by all the Urban Local Bodies.

He said that strict enforcement would be ensured for safe construction practices in rural areas, setting up a Hazard Safety Cell to appraise large projects and promote safe construction practices, and regulating construction near rivers/streams and high slopes were also discussed in the meeting.

 The setting up of the State Institute of Disaster Management for training and capacity building was also discussed.

The Chief Secretary stressed raising the strength of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and equipping the SDRF with state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and gears, besides expediting the process of setting up Headquarter and Regional Response Centres of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and deployment of NDRF in the state as per the norms of the MHA.

DGP Sanjay Kundu, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Onkar Chand Sharma, Secretary (Health) M. Sudha Devi, Secretary (Agriculture) Rakesh Kanwar, Engineer-in-Chief (PWD) Ajay Gupta, Director-cum-Special Secretary (Revenue-DM) D.C. Rana and other senior officers attended the meeting.

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