New Delhi [India], Sept.28 (ANI
): Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir on Wednesday called for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to be involved in the smart cities project right from the conceptualization stage to help avert disasters such as the urban flooding phenomenon that recently brought Chennai and Hyderabad to a standstill.
Ahir also called upon the NDMA to involve students from reputed institutes such as the IITs. Referring to the forthcoming Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), 2016 that India will host in November, 2016, he said, "We should place before the delegates from all over Asia a state-of-the-art infrastructure, including communication network such as the wireless and satellite communication to tackle emergency contingencies in the event of natural and manmade disasters striking us."
Welcoming the participation of NGOs and delegates from the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ahir called upon the NDMA to deliberate on a strategy to deal with crop epidemics.
Accepting that India is a densely populated country with a diverse geography, the minister expressed satisfaction that the country is now better equipped to handle calamities.
R K Jain, Member, NDMA said the authority has identified heat wave as an emerging challenge since it has caused more than 2,400 deaths last year, the casualties being much higher than flooding or any other recurring natural disaster in recent years.
He said India took a big leap forward in disaster management with the unveiling of the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 1 this year.
With this, India became one of the first countries to align its national plan to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), he added.
Jain further said that the NDMA has undertaken earthquake disaster risk assessment of 50 cities in the country and the earthquake disaster risk index of these cities will be published shortly.
Under the National Disaster Management Services, safe communication has been set up in all states and 80 most vulnerable cities covered under the first phase of the programme which will be subsequently rolled out across other districts.
Ahir released a special issue of the NDMA's newsletter 'Samvad'. (ANI