MPs urge govt. to fill up NDMA vacancies

MPs were quick to point out that the horrific earthquake has a lesson for India

Updated - April 27, 2015 08:38 pm IST

Published - April 27, 2015 08:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India’s efforts to help Nepal in its hour of crisis drew all-round support and appreciation in Parliament on Monday as both Houses set aside business to discuss the earthquake that has flattened large parts of the mountainous country and damaged adjoining areas of India.

Members of the Lok Sabha also unanimously decided to donate a month’s salary towards the relief effort even as Rajya Sabha MPs said they should be allowed to use their MPLADS funds for helping Nepal.

Appreciative of the Government’s efforts, MPs were quick to point out that the horrific earthquake has a lesson for India; particularly the need to balance development with environmental concerns. Cutting across party lines, MPs urged the Government to ensure preparatory mechanisms are in place with adequate measures for quick response should a natural disaster of similar magnitude strike India.

Union Information & Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in turn, used the discussion in the Rajya Sabha to urge people not to use social media platforms to spread rumours. He was referring to predictions of earthquakes being circulated on social media platforms all of Saturday.

Congress and Trinamool Congress MPs in the Rajya Sabha stressed the need to fill vacant positions in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). According to TMC member Derek O’Brien, the NDMA Board currently has only three members as against a sanctioned strength of 12.  

Informing the House that the CPI(M) had asked all its party units to collect funds for relief work, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) made out a case for allowing MPs to use MPLADS for quake relief. Making a similar plea, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut said this would increase goodwill for India in Nepal.

In both Houses representatives of Bihar-based parties – the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshakti Party – wanted the Government to declare a national calamity and announce a special package for the State in view of the extent of the damage caused to Bihar by the earthquake.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Kanimozhi suggested in the Rajya Sabha that the Government follow the example set by West Bengal in having four-digit number help lines instead of 10-digit as the shorter number is easier memorise.

Stating that Nepal’s tragedy is India’s grief, Biju Janata Dal member B. Mahtab lamented in the Lok Sabha that there was lot of information available about the damage caused in Nepal, but nothing was known about the situation in Tibet. “We should also stand with the affected people in Lhasa.”

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