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Opposition seeks concise plan for disaster management

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New Delhi, Dec 2:

Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha Tuesday asked the central government to avoid “knee-jerk” reactions and have a “concise” plan to tackle natural calamities.
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A suggestion was also made of having a separate ministry for disaster management.

“Disaster management is a central government responsibility. The government should finalize and concentrate on an action plan. We have had many calamities in our country,” Congress member Shashi Tharoor said participating in a discussion on natural calamities.

“Please ensure that calamities in our country do not have to be tragedies,” he said.

Tharoor said the government has to strengthen the agencies involved in weather monitoring, warning issuance and disaster preparedness.

Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said: “We have to ensure that the country as a whole is ready for natural disasters.”

“The parliament has enacted the right laws to address these issues. But the implementation of these plans is lacking.”

Noting that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is currently without any members, he said: “Between 2008 and 2012, the national executive committee could not even meet once.”

“There was a need to avoid knee-jerk reactions and form concise plans to tackle natural calamities,” he added.

The MP from Odisha said that the government has not been able to finalize the national disaster management action plan yet.

Deo also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been more generous as far as Jammu and Kashmir was concerned and Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, which have been hit by two cyclones, have not got their due as far as help from the central government was concerned.

Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said there should be a separate ministry as far as disaster management is concerned.

“Is the home ministry efficient? Do we need a separate ministry to tackle this issue?” she asked. She also asked the government to fill all the posts lying vacant in the NDMA.

BJP MP K. Hari Babu said Visakhapatnam had to bear the brunt of the cyclone.

“The centre should depute a team to assess the enormity of the damages and work out a compensation package. The national disaster response team should start an operational unit in the city,” he said. (IANS)