The first meeting of Ladakh Disaster Management Authority (LDMA) was convened under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh/ Chairman LDMA, R K Mathur at Raj Niwas here today.
The meeting was attended by Jamyang Tsering Namgial, MP Ladakh; Tashi Gyalson, CEC, LAHDC, Leh; Feroz Ahmad Khan, CEC, LAHDC, Kargil; Umang Narula, Advisor to LG Ladakh,; S S Khandare, ADG Police, Ladakh; A K Sahu, Commissioner/ Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Ladakh; Saugat Biswas, Divisional Commissioner Ladakh/ Administrative Secretary Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Department; Sachin Kumar, DC Leh; Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary, DC Kargil, SPs of Leh and Kargil and Nodal Officer, NSRMP-NDMA, UT Ladakh.
Addressing the meeting, the Lt. Governor pointed out that NDMA guides at the national level in terms of thinking, planning and funding to undertake any kind of disaster risk management programme in Ladakh.
He exhorted to engage various Government of India agencies in disaster management planning for Ladakh ensuring regular interactions to study disaster-related aspect throughout the year. He stressed on the need to strengthen the ability of the Met Department and suggested to draft information Proforma to ensure a strong database of disaster-related information and updating it on regular intervals.
The Lt. Governor asserted that handling of any disaster is the responsibility of every individual and entire Ladakh needs to contribute to the risk reduction of natural as well as man-made disasters. He exhorted to initiate preparations to decentralize by providing emergency stocks, equipment, volunteers and training at habitation level to ensure immediate response to any disaster that hits any village.
As immediate measures, LG Mathur exhorted to strengthen the administrative buildings in Ladakh on priority by making them earthquake and fire resistant along with the deployment of satellite phones. He said that the governing authority/ officials should be available as first responders in a functional position at the time of any disaster. He stressed on the need to station the helicopters in Ladakh and the capacity of the helipads should be made to handle bigger aircraft like M-17 or Chinook and to have additional airstrips for relief, rescue and evacuation purposes. He suggested the Police Department to use drones to keep constant monitoring and ensuring analysis of imagery on daily basis. Access to medical services and extensive training to paramedics in handling disaster victims, immediate setting up of Emergency Operation Centre and measures to address the possibility of drought was pointed out by the LG.
During the meeting, a detailed presentation was given by the DCs of Leh and Kargil and the Nodal Officer about the powers and functions of Ladakh Disaster Management Authority highlighted the history of disasters in Ladakh, rescue operations, training, and possible threats with required actions and requirements in both Leh and Kargil and disaster preparedness measures taken at UT level.
MP Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgial raised the need to ensure immediate evacuation and providing shelter in case of any disaster. He stressed on the need to sensitize people at village level and to provide them with emergency contact numbers. CEC, LAHDC, Leh Tashi Gylson stressed to conduct a comprehensive seismic survey and work on disaster indicators. To ensure better communication, he suggested for community radio at the village cluster level, internet and DSPT connection in all villages. Sharing his views, CEC, LAHDC, Kargil, Feroz Khan pointed out the need to upgrade the fire station in Kargil, timely sanction of the relief fund, the risk of snow avalanche and drought and to impart training on disaster management.
Umang Narula, Advisor to LG stressed on the need to have a comprehensive disaster plan for Ladakh in order to cater to possible contingency and disasters. He impressed on the use of technology like drones, satellite, etc. to improve communication networks and community-level involvement through training, mock drill to enable them to manage disaster as first responders.
The meeting deliberated on the importance of training to SDRF, NCC cadets, students, volunteers, community people on disaster management, procurement of essential and specialized equipment and machinery, conduct of mock drills, retrofitting of critical buildings, the establishment of Emergency Operation Centre, setting up of community radio system, enhance prediction capability and weather station and water conservation plans. The meeting also raised the importance of ensuring constant communication among SDRF, Army, Airforce, Para Military, HIMANK, BRO and NDRF on disaster risk reduction and mitigations plans.