CM reviews disaster preparedness, expresses concern over rampant earth-cutting in capital region

ITANAGAR, 14 Jun: Expressing grave concern over rampant earth-cutting in the state capital, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has asked the disaster management department to coordinate with the district administration and put a halt to such activities.

The CM also suggested to Disaster Management Director Komkar Dulom to survey, map and notify all the habitants in and around the capital region who are vulnerable to landslides and floods, and facilitate shifting of people from landslide-prone areas to safer locations.

Taking stock of the state’s preparedness to tackle disasters in a meeting with the disaster management department here on Monday, Khandu advised the department to extensively train more volunteers on disaster management across the state, down to the village level.

Stressing on carrying out extensive IEC campaigns to create awareness among the people, the CM said, “Without thinking of any possible disaster, our people tend to build houses and reside in areas which are prone to landslides and floods during the monsoons. We need to make them aware, even if it may take time.”

Khandu accepted the suggestion offered by the department to put in place a real-time monitoring system in the state “for early warning signals of upcoming disasters to prevent loss of lives and other damages.”

The CM also gave the go-ahead to the department to seek help from reputed institutes for technologies which could detect soil movement and give out advance warning signals, and also reviewed the status of preparedness in terms of medicines, essential commodities, manpower in the districts, fund position of the department, etc.

It was also agreed that a certain percent of the state disaster relief management fund will be used for mitigation purposes only.

Earlier, Disaster Management Secretary Dani Salu informed that personnel of the 12th Bn NDRF have been positioned in Bomdila for the western part of the state, and in Tezu for the eastern part of the state, while SDRF units have been positioned at the regional response centres in Dirang, Ziro, Pasighat, Tezu and Khonsa for quick response to any disaster situation.

“Our department is in constant touch with agencies like the CWC, the IMD, hydropower, water resources, urban development, public health engineering, science & technology, etc, for liaising, coordination and information-sharing to put in place precautionary measures in advance,” he said.

Salu said an extensive IEC campaign has been launched to create awareness and the department is conducting mock exercises on earthquake and other disasters, including flood and fire. He said toll-free numbers have also been installed and activated. The numbers are 1070 (state emergency operation centre) and 1077 (district emergency operation centres).

“Further, the department has trained volunteers on disaster management across the state,” Salu said, adding that “these volunteers are also trained to deal with the Covid-19 situation.”

The state has already witnessed heavy rains triggering landslides and flashfloods even before the arrival of the southwest monsoon in its fullest. (CM’s PR Cell)