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Getting ready for disasters
Source : The Hindu Property Plus Published On : 2008-09-06 City : Chennai

The release of National Guidelines for Biological Disaster Management by the NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) gives room for a discussion on whether sector-specific disaster management, and in particular, real estate-centric plan, is necessary.

The national vision on the subject of disaster management is “to build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, technology-driven strategy for disaster management through collective efforts of all government agencies and non-governmental organisations.” Life and property are, of course, the fundamental areas of management of disasters. Life will embrace both human life and animal life. Property will cover land, buildings (residential, office/ factories ), installations like electrical and power generation/ maintenance, defence / communication, dams and the like. The real estate sector has very wide connotations, as disaster to property and installations can have direct implications on life of people residing inhabiting the areas / working in the offices/ factories, as they may be either dead, incapacitated or injured on account of the disaster/s and need to be attended to according to the requirements of each one of them. This also needs coordination with other agencies like hospitals, ambulance services, fire service /army personnel, NGOs/ volunteers and the like.

Key areas requiring attention of disaster management:

Identification of disaster-prone areas.

Creation of infrastructure to handle the disaster-connected matters.

Notifying the agencies/personnel for handling specific work.

Conducting of drills to generate awareness among the public.

Earthquake-specific approach to construction, maintenance and storage.

Review of arrangements in place at periodic intervals.

The efficacy of the present system.

The system of entrusting everything to the District Magistrate will overburden his office. It will be worthwhile to create a new post like Additional DM (Disaster Management) to execute the job without the burden of office. Extensive use of technology like satellite surveillance can increase the efficiency of the disaster management efforts. The need for outsourcing some of the functions may also be thought of.

Property-specific disaster management

Records of title of properties are required to be safeguarded by taking copies, one set being kept with the owners and the original to be deposited in lockers. It is necessary for us in India to make fool- proof law about the safety of the items kept in bank lockers, since as of now, the banks are maintaining the view that they are only hiring out the lockers and they are not responsible for the contents.

K. SUKUMARAN
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