National Disaster Management Authority Vice-Chairman M. Sashidhar Reddy exhorted the State government to constitute a disaster management body at the State level to exclusively deal with prevention of loss of life during calamities.

Mr. Sashidhar Reddy, who reviewed the building collapse that claimed 17 lives at a meeting with senior officials on Tuesday, said the NDMA had asked the government to provide space to locate two teams of the disaster response force in the capital, but the issue was yet to materialise two years after the request was made.

“Disaster management is not just rescue and relief operation after the calamity occurs. There is a need for institutionalising the mechanism,” he said.

Though stringent guidelines were put in place in the National Disaster Management Act, “most of the States are not even looking at them”.

Mr. Reddy said the Centre was coming up with two legislations relating to real estate and engineers in the coming days and the States should emulate the guidelines to ensure that safe structures were constructed in future. “There should be a plan, a standard operating procedure to counter any eventuality,” he said.

Toll in Uttarakhand higher

Mr. Sashidhar Reddy said the number of missing persons in Uttarakhand floods could be much higher than 4,000 projected by that State government.

The government was collating information through the FIRs being filed about the missing people in different police stations to arrive at the figure, but a voluntary organisation had estimated the actual missing persons to be around 11,600.

Though the figure mentioned by the NGO might not be accurate, its report could not be put down altogether as three categories of people went missing.

While an estimate of pilgrims and local people could be arrived at by the registered numbers, there was another category of those who operated 5,000 mules during the pilgrimage season.

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