Disaster Management

On the recommendations of the Government of India, the Administration of Rohtak has constituted the District Disaster Management Authority vide Notification dated 9-10-2007. We believe in effective planning and focus on prevention. Mitigation would greatly help in ensuring that the hazards do not transform themselves into disasters and the coping capacity of the vulnerable population is greatly increased. This would again need systematic planning and coordination to ensure that the Disaster Risk Reduction is constantly promoted and mainstreamed in the regular programmes of each department.

7.1 National Level

At the national level, different Ministries are responsible for the management of situation relating to different types of crisis. The Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal Ministry for the management of situation relating to natural calamities such as drought, flood, earthquake etc. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal Ministry for management of chemical accidents. The Ministry of Railways is the nodal Ministry for managing rail accidents. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is the nodal Ministry for managing air crash and other civil aviation related crisis situations. The Ministry of Mines is responsible for the management of mining accidents. The Secretary of the concerned Ministry, generally heads the Crisis Management Committee at national levels which has representatives from the concerned Central Agencies dealing with different aspects of disaster response and recovery. In case of a very serious disaster, the Cabinet Secretary heads the Central Crisis Management Committee. The Central Crisis Management Committee establishes a Control Room at the concerned nodal Ministry depending on the nature of disaster.

7.2 State Level

At the State level, different departments of the State Government act as nodal agencies for the management of different types of crisis / disaster situations. In the case of natural calamities, the State Relief Commissioner, who is generally also the Secretary of the State Revenue Department, is the nodal authority to monitor and direct natural disaster management activities in the state. In case of industrial accidents, the Labour Secretary becomes the nodal authority at the State level for its management. In case of rail accidents, the Home Secretary acts as the nodal authority for its management. Similar to the Crisis Management Group at national level, in case of a disaster of a serious nature, the Chief Secretary heads the State Crisis Management Group. The State Crisis Management Group also has the representatives of the concerned department and agencies responsible for different aspects relating to disaster response and recovery.

7.3 District Level

At the district level Collector, who has the general administrative control over all the district level office of different State Government departments, acts as the focal point for all types of disaster response and recovery activities. At the district level, there is no formal constitution of Committee for ensuring a coordinated response but the Collector because of his unique position in the government set-up at the district level is able to ensure functioning of a non-formal team of officials from different State government agencies. The power of sanction of relief is vested with officials of Revenue Department at different level, depending upon the operational needs. The Collector is able to ensure participation of different State Government agencies in the response and recovery activities and provides the necessary financial support and sanctions from the funds available with him for relief and for rural development works. He also manages to get the support, both managerial and material, from the NGOs.

In case of industrial accidents, involving, hazardous chemicals, Manufacture Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (MS&IHC) Rules, 1989; issued by Government of India under the Environment Protection Act, 1986; provides for identification of hazardous chemicals and MAH units, notification of hazardous sites, safety audit of MAH units, and preparation of on-site & off-site plan chemical Emergency (Prevention Preparedness and Response) Rule as ammended 2000 under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 has provisions for constitution of formal Crisis Management Group at national, State, district and local levels. The constitution of these Crisis Management Groups is indicated at (Annexe– 7.1)

It has been the experience on many occasions that the existing organizational structure for disaster management has failed to provide a quick and coordinated response in many disaster situations. The Government of India has constituted a High Powered Committee for suggesting appropriate Disaster Management Plans at National, State and District level. The Committee is headed by Shri J.C. Pant, (retired Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture). The Committee is making suggestions regarding model Disaster Management Plans at the National, State and District levels. The Committee is also likely to come up with an organizational structure, both for the national and state level for disaster management to take care of all phases of disaster management. The present document only seeks to propose an appropriate organizational structure at district level for the management of different phases of an emergency.