Sep 25, 2008

India - Rs 1,600-crore plan to tackle natural man-made disasters

HYDERABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority on Wednesday unveiled a grandiose plan to combat natural and man-made disasters.
NDMA vice-chairman Gen. N.C. Vij and member M. Shashidhar Reddy said a World Bank-funded, Rs. 1,600-crore National Cyclonic Risk Mitigation Project was being finalised for 13 coastal States and Union Territories.
They were speaking at a function, where a book of guidelines brought out by the NDMA was released by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
Cyclone shelters, shelter-belt/mangrove plantations, last-mile connectivity and link roads to vulnerable habitations would be taken up under the project.
It would take off in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat and Maharashtra. A digital project report was under preparation.
Gen.Vij said the thrust was not only on natural calamities but also man-made disasters which were on the rise, thanks to industrialisation.
Four battalions, equipped with response teams and materials, were established — including one each in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa — to fight disasters. Four more would be raised shortly.School safety scheme
Gen. Vij said a Rs. 500-crore National Earthquake Mitigation Project was taken up to improve preparedness for seismic upheavals, with 67 per cent funds having been set aside for capacity building. Under this, a “school safety” scheme would be taken up as a pilot project.
Mr. Reddy, who made a presentation, spoke of plans to use aircraft to probe cyclones, as the American National Hurricane Centre did in the case of “Katrina.”
A National Cyclone Management Institute would be set up in Visakhapatnam at a cost of Rs. 80 crore-Rs. 100 crore.
Mr. Reddy and Gen. Vij regretted that the 1,000 cyclone shelters set up along the Andhra Pradesh coast were not maintained properly.

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