The Disaster Management Policy, approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, proposes institution of an emergency operations centre and strengthening institutional mechanisms in the State to deal with various kinds of disasters. The policy lays down that the State Disaster Management Authority will be the apex decision-making body for management of disasters. It will facilitate, co-ordinate, review and monitor all disaster management related activities in the State. It shall prepare State disaster management plan and endorse departmental plans.
The district disaster management authorities, which have been formed in all the districts, will be the planning, coordinating and implementing body for disaster management at the district level. It shall take all measures for the purposes of disaster management in the district in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority and the State Authority.
The Department of Revenue and Disaster Management will be the nodal department for management of all types of natural disasters including water and climate related disasters and geological disasters. The scope of the Revenue Department has been enhanced to include prevention, mitigation and preparedness aspects of disaster management apart from its traditional role in relief and rehabilitation.
The Department of Home will be the nodal department for management of man-made and human induced disasters including air and rail accidents. The Department of Public Health shall be the nodal department for chemical, biological (health related), radiological and nuclear disasters. The Factories and Boilers Department will be the nodal department for industrial accidents and the department will work in tandem with the Industries Department in the event of a disaster. While the Agricultural Department deals with pest attacks; cattle epidemics will be handled by the Animal Husbandry Department. Irrigation and Public Works Departments will be the lead agencies for disasters related to dam bursts and major building collapse, respectively. The Forest Department will be the nodal department for disasters such as forest fire.
Crisis Management Plans
An institutional mechanism distinguished as ‘Crisis Management Group’ under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary with representatives of the Department of Home including the Police, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management and Department of Health will function at the State level as a nerve centre to support, coordinate and monitor crisis management activities. ‘Crisis Management Plans’ that clearly define response roles and responsibilities of government agencies, facilitate communication across agencies, specify protocols and procedures, and detail actions to be taken by government departments will be prepared and made operational by the State government.
In addition to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, emergency operation centres will function under the nodal departments and district collectors. They will be designed in such as way as to promptly assess and relay information to parties concerned.
The EOC will act as master-coordinator and control point for all disaster management efforts. It will function round the clock and will maintain direct linkage with district control rooms through phone, fax, wireless and Internet.
The policy further proposes that disaster management shall be included as an integral part of development plans of the State. Disaster risk analysis and audit and environment impact analysis shall be introduced as a binding requirement for development and infrastructure programmes.