After almost a year of being obsessed with landslide hazards in our part of the world and after attending two meetings organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), I am of the firm belief that at the national level
Thus the Prime Minister, in his now famous speech to the first Disaster Management Congress in Delhi on 29Nov2006 said "I do believe that the time has come for a paradigm shift in disaster management from a “relief-centric” and “post-event” response, to a regime that lays greater emphasis on preparedness, prevention and mitigation"
Apparently, the"paradigm shift" has not happened in West Bengal.
Placed above are screen shots from the home page of the Disaster Management Dept, Government of West Bengal (http://www.wbgov.com/e-gov/English/Departments/DepartmentFrame
a) As is apparent there is no mention whatsoever about PREVENTION, PREPAREDNESS AND MITIGATION of natural disasters and the only rant, approx three years after the Disaster Management Act 2005, is still about "RELIEF"!! (SLIDE 1)
b) There is a passing reference to landslides in para 2 of the Introduction (SLIDE 1) but thereafter I found no mention of landslides in all the other links and pdf downloads (though preservation of cattle during relief operations in floods has received a great deal of attention in the "Manual for Relief of Distress" )
c) The organizational structure of the Dept (SLIDE 2) is ALSO woefully "relief centric" headed by the "Minister in Charge Relief" and ending with the "Block Relief Officer" at the grass root level.
As has been repeatedly explained to me, the actual footwork for landslide prevention has to be undertaken/initiated at the State level and presumably by the above department (ie the State Disaster Management Authority or SDMA).
But with "disaster prevention" or "landslides" being totally missing from their vocabulary do we have any hope that the Dept of Disaster Management, Govt of West Bengal will do anything towards this end ???
Time to invoke the Right to Information Act 2005...that will be my next post.