THE RISING number of disasters that the city has witnessed in the last few years, starting from the fire at Kamala Mills in 2017 to the building collapses, has prompted the Home Guard and Civil Defence to send a proposal to the government, seeking to start a one-year diploma course in disaster management for the public.
The course is likely to include topics ranging from facing man-made disasters such as a nuclear or chemical fire, building fires, rail and road accidents and dealing with pollution.
Sources said the government was positive about the proposal and they could soon start the course from the Civil Defence Staff College at Dhobi Talao in South Mumbai. An officer said earlier this year, a proposal to start a postgraduate diploma course “providing comprehensive knowledge on disaster preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation” was sent to the state government.
The course will accommodate a maximum of 60 students in one batch. As of now, the Civil Defence College – Manekji Technical Centre – located at Dhobi Talao provides five to six-day training programmes in Civil Defence courses. It is however a certificate course done before working as a civil defence guard, which is a voluntary post.
Commandant General (Home Guard) Sanjay Pandey said, “We wanted a year-long course affiliated to the government, in which you get a diploma on completion of the course. It will be a training programme that will train residents to face disasters.”
He added, “For example, the recent Mahalaxmi train rescue would have been aided had there been some people trained in disaster management in the long-distance train.”
An official said there was an increasing awareness on security by different organisations. “Those who do this course will be trained in facing different types of disasters and will be in high demand in the future as far as employment prospects are concerned,” the official said.
The programme guide for the postgraduate diploma in disaster management states, “The changing global geo-political scenario, reducing the chances and occurrence of traditional wars and steadily increasing threats from natural and man-made disasters, with large-scale devastation to life and property, warrants a greater role on the part of the Civil Defence from merely hostile act-centric responsibility to a holistic role in all the faces of disaster management in the country.”
An official, who is overseeing the process, said they had already contacted Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for guidance. “The TISS has a similar course for training people in the face of disasters. We have also been taking help from them to decide on our curriculum,” the official said.
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