Stuck in red tape is a document that could have helped manage the disaster in Uttarakhand after the devastation caused by flash floods. The 2005 Disaster Management Act also mandates for every state to have state-level and district-level disaster management plans ready and functional.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority,which was asked by the Centre to prepare a Mega Mock Drill Report,or template,is still sitting on the document,which was supposed to be circulated to all the states to help prepare their disaster mitigation plans,and conduct periodic mock drills. While sources say the report is ready,senior officials said it is in discussion stage.
The report prepared by DDMA,however,was sent to NDMA Vice Chairman Sashidhar Reddy in April this year,who had sent back the report on May 7,asking for some minor changes. And ever since,the files have not moved. Meanwhile,the tragedy in Uttarakhand was waiting to happen,where people continue to lose life because relief and rescue could not reach on time,and the state never had a disaster management plan in place.
We will send the template to the National Disaster Management Authority soon,and they will further circulate it, Secretary DDMA Dharam Pal said.
In 2012,when a mega mock drill was conducted across 1,500 locations in Delhi,it was also aimed at teaching the community how to cope with disaster.
Lauding the efforts of the Delhi government,then Home Minister P Chidambaram had said in the Parliament on March 20 that all future mock drills conducted anywhere in the country should apply the lessons of the elaborate Delhi mock drill and run through a programme of preparedness before the mock drill is conducted.
In future,all mock drills will follow the protocol that was followed in Delhi, Chidambaram had said in the Parliament.
In a follow-up,the Disaster Management Division of the Home Ministry sent an Office Memorandum to Secretary,NDMA and Secretary,DDMA,to prepare a template for mock drills in consultation with DDMA,and circulate the same for conducting future mock drills by NDMA. A copy of the template may also be sent to this Ministry for information and record.