Special Correspondent

Engineers' role in tsunami relief lauded

NEYVELI: Engineers have a vital role to play in the post-disaster period and disaster management should be made part of the engineering curriculum.

Besides this, the Institution of Engineers should prepare modules for training its members in disaster mitigation and management, said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, the District Collector.

He was delivering a speech on the occasion of the Engineers' Day celebrations organised jointly by the Institution of Engineers (India) and Engineers' and Scientists' Association at Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Neyveli.

Mr. Bedi recalled the un-stinted support given by the engineers to the district administration that the relief and rehabilitation works could be completed in a record time during tsunami. After the occurrence of the natural calamity, engineers were the most sought after professionals, because only with their expertise things could be set right, he said.

Expert teams

For instance, soon after the tsunami had left a trail of devastation along the district's 57.75 km coastal stretch on December 26,2004, he had constituted 13 engineering teams.

The teams swung into action and restored the water and electricity supply within a week. Though debris clearance posed a challenge, the engineers accomplished the task with resolve and determination. The 2.5 lakh people, who were displaced by the tidal waves, were accommodated in temporary shelters before January 14,2005. In fact, the Asian Development Bank team that had inspected the temporary shelters had recommended the model elsewhere too.

Though it was originally planned to raise 2,323 permanent houses with earthquake and cyclone proof shelters, the number had been later increased to 5,000 so as to accommodate the Dalits and Irula tribal.

Mr. Bedi said donors and philanthropists had contributed articles and commodities worth Rs.8 crore, and all these details were all computerized, recording the sources and destinations where these were equitably distributed.

For developing infrastructure, projects worth Rs. 250 crore had been undertaken and in all these endeavours, the engineers had a major role to play, Mr. Bedi pointed out.

The Collector thanked the NLC for having lent timely help, by way of deploying machinery and material.

NLC Director A.R. Ansari, K.S. Anandan (Mines), J.N. Prasanna Kumar (Finance), P. Babu Rao (Personnel) and Chief Vigilance Officer V. Narayanan participated.