NATIONAL

Disaster management Bill in this session

NEW DELHI, MARCH 24. The National Disaster Management Authority Bill would be tabled in the current session of Parliament though the Authority would be constituted soon through an administrative order.

This was announced by the Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, in the Lok Sabha today while replying to a discussion on natural calamities. As the passage of the Bill could take long as it would have to be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the Government had decided to issue an administrative order. The Authority would have executive and advisory committees. The draft Bill has been referred to a Group of Ministers for "refinement".

Responding to suggestions by members during the five-hour long discussion yesterday, Mr. Patil said the Government believed in total decentralisation of disaster management. Hence there was provision for the state and district level management authority in the Bill. The Minister was repeatedly interrupted by members, who wanted to highlight issues related to their constituencies.

While the DMK members wanted Mr. Patil to react to allegations of mismanagement and corruption in rehabilitation of the tsunami-affected people in Tamil Nadu, actor-turned-politician, Raj Babbar, drew the attention of the House to the plight of farmers in Agra where an untimely hailstorm had destroyed the crops.

Taking responsibility for any lapses in the rehabilitation of the tsunami victims, Mr. Patil said the Planning Commission had set up a special committee to look into all aspects of rehabilitation and re-construction of the affected areas. The committee would draw up elaborate policies for future planning of airports, seaports and other infrastructure.

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