Kalimpong, Dec. 12: Save The Hills (STH), a conglomeration of different hill-based organisations, has called for the setting up of a nodal agency to deal with disaster management in Darjeeling district.
In a letter faxed to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee yesterday, the conglomeration said the agency was necessary because at present both the Bengal government and the DGHC were handling disaster management separately in the hills.
“We were informed that prevention of disaster was not the responsibility of the district magistrate (alone) since many of the departments concerned with preventive work were not under them (him). This is contrary to the (provisions of the) Disaster Management Act 2005,” read the letter.
The act says all aspects of disaster management will come under the purview of a district authority headed by the district magistrate.
STH convener Praful Rao said the letter was drafted after discussion on disaster management with member organisations after the September landslides.
The conglomeration came into being in November and is yet to be registered.
Since September, the members made field visits to many landslide-affected areas. The STH had also assisted a two-member team of the Geological Survey of India during their 10-day study trip to Kalimpong that concluded yesterday.
The STH in its letter to the chief minister has also suggested the inclusion of the Darjeeling district in natural disaster surveys carried out in Sikkim.