Monday, January 5, 2009

The way forward - An update on planned STH activities

a) Dr RK Bhandari {former Chairman/ founder of Centre of Disaster Mitigation and Management (CDMM), Vellore Institute of Technology and perhaps the foremost expert on landslides in the country} who has been a strident supporter and also adviser of STH has been contacted. He has asked STH to get in touch with CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) and Ministry of Earth Sciences and send them a letter of STH activities and ask for help (for awareness programs etc). He said he would also put in a word for STH with these agencies.

b) Shri KM Singh, Member NDMA who is in charge of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the NDMA has been contacted. He said he would help regarding, a) Printing publicity material as regards landslide hazards thru NDRF resources. b) Sending NDRF personnel to participate in awareness programs as regards medical first response in landslide disasters.

c) The Director of Cinchona plantations (Dr Gyan Subba) in this region has been contacted. When we talked to him, he was most aware and positive about STH activities and asked me to include the Cinchona plantations in the awareness workshops...he would extend whatever help was possible.

d) Mr Amit Khasnawi is the Officer in Charge Civil Defence, in Kalimpong, and he contacted us sometime ago regarding STH. As we all know the civil defence plays a major role in all rescue operations in a post disaster scenario. STH (Kalimpong) has a meeting with him today to find out how our activities can be integrated with those of the Civil Defence.

e) Dr Sanjay Rana (North Bengal Univ), Dr Subir Sarkar (Head of Dept, Geography - North Bengal Univ), Dr Varun Joshi (Head of Dept, Disaster Management- GB Pant Institute, Gangtok and Mr Manav Prasad, Commander, 764 BRTF, Mr Tsering Tashi, Director Mines, Sikkim have all been contacted in the last few days with a request for articles as well as advice, support, inputs for STH activities. All were very positive.
Besides this ,Mr Trilok Kr Dewan (IAS), former Chief Secretary Andhra Pradesh, now a resident of Darjeeling, has also talked to concerned officials in Delhi regarding the landslide problem in these hills.

f) Mr Suman Rai of ATREE (Eastern Himalayas) has always been an ardent supporter of STH activities. We have invited him over tomorrow for a meeting with STH (Kalimpong). He has kindly agreed.

praful rao

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