National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) held a national seminar on Landslide Mitigation Management in New Delhi today. Vice Chairman, NDMA Shri Shashidhar Reddy in his inaugural address asked the participants to evolve the appropriate scientific strategy for studies of various disasters.
India is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides etc. As many as 22 States/ UTs of our country experience landslides year after year especially during the monsoon period. This natural hazard affects almost 15% of the country’s area exceeding 0.49 million sq kms. Shri Reddy said that most of these landslides occur in the remote areas of the country and hence they are probably less in the news unlike floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami. “However, we must value the lives of people who would be affected in these areas”, he said. As mandated by the act, NDMA formulated and released national guidelines on management of natural and man-made disasters, besides some cross cutting issues. The guidelines on Management of Landslides and Snow Avalanches were released on 23 June 2009. These guidelines were prepared in a consultative and participatory manner, taking on the board all the stakeholders. “Now the critical task ahead is implementation of these Guidelines by the ministries and departments of government of India and the states”. He said, Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also referred to this and wanted all Ministries and Departments at the Centre and the States to prepare plans for implementation of these guidelines. Shri Reddy asked the Ministry of Mines, which is the nodal ministry for management of Landslides, to constitute a Task Force to evaluate the progress made so far in the implementation of guidelines by all identified agencies and prepare a road map and action plan with different timelines. Shri Reddy mentioned that most of the landslides occur during the monsoon season, and since monsoon is fast approaching, “we must take stock of our preparedness and look at immediate strategies to be adopted by different stakeholders and assured that NDMA will coordinate these efforts”. He urged the IMD and CWC to look into the requirement of the data in terms of rain gauges, flow gauges, etc. in the identified catchment areas of landslides. Both IMD and CWC should coordinate these efforts and finalize a concrete proposal in this regard for the 12th Five Year Plan period. He stressed the need to move away from an approach of small incremental increases and focus on our total requirements in terms of highest standards. He hoped that deliberations of this seminar will look both at immediate strategy for coming monsoon season and to complete the task for preparing a road map and action plan for the next five years. He wanted this exercise to be completed by the end of this month. Shri T. Nandkumar is the NDMA Member in charge of Landslides Management and leading the efforts on behalf of NDMA. Shri B Bhattacharjee, Member NDMA later chaired the technical session. Dr. Noor Mohammad, Secretary NDMA, Shri P K Tripathi, Joint Secretary, NDMA and other officials of NDMA were also present in the seminar along with officials and representatives from Ministry of Mines, Department of Science & Technology, IMD, CWC, Geological Survey of India, IITs, IIRS, BRO, SASE and other agencies.