Weekly Current Affairs

‘Don’t blame nature, bolster disaster preparedness,’ says parliamentary panel on Chennai deluge [Disaster Management]

  • A Parliamentary panel has rejected Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi’s contention that there cannot be preparation for a disaster like the Chennai floods which “occurs once in 100 years”.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its report on ‘Disaster in Chennai caused by torrential rainfall and consequent flooding’, recommended that Ministry of Home Affairs bolster its disaster preparedness.
  • Panel said it does not accept argument that since rainfall was unprecedented and was more than the hundred years’ average the damage was also huge.
  • Any natural disaster of bigger intensity has the propensity to cause damage. Thus instead of putting the blame on the forces of nature, we should use advanced technology to fight it.
  • Separate action should be taken to prepare calamity map of all important cities by developing standard vulnerability indices so as to minimise loss of life, loss of private and public property and vital installations.
  • Moreover, the administration of both centre and state should work together and remain vigilant to tackle the situation.
  • However, mitigation efforts are largely a state subject and Government of India can assist to the extent possible through various central government schemes.
  • National Disaster Management Authority and all concerned bodies of central and state governments should have established procedures so that vital time is not lost in wriggling out procedural delays.
  • The panel observed that since urban floods are taking place in cities like Mumbai, Surat, Srinagar and Chennai, these indicate that the problem may further escalate in future.
  • Therefore, the committee recommends that the guidelines prepared by NDMA should be scrupulously followed and they should also review town planning of each city by giving due importance to clear flood channels, proper drainage, safe passage to excess water in lakes, other water bodies, de-siltation of river bed, removal of illegal encroachment.
  • Devastating floods submerged Chennai and its neighbouring areas in NovemberDecember 2015 claiming the lives of over 400 people.