VD Satheesan. Photo:ANI
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 30 (PTI) As rains continue to pound several parts of Kerala, Opposition Congress-led UDF on Tuesday accused the LDF government of lacking a "meticulous" district-wise disaster management plan to address the monsoon related issues and natural calamities in the state.
Raising the issue during the Question Hour in the state Assembly, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said the natural calamities, recurring in the state since 2018 are a reminder of the fact that Kerala is situated in a disaster-prone area. To tide over the unexpected calamities and the hazardous situations, the early warning system, disaster management facilities and the calamity mitigation projects should be prepared in advance, he pointed out. As the situation in each district is different, a district-wise disaster management plan as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act is inevitable.
"However, there is no such effective disaster management plan in the state as of now. The absence of a meticulous disaster management plan is affecting the state's disaster and mitigation programmes and activities in the state," Satheesan alleged. He also urged the government to make use of the weather predictions of private agencies also along with that of IMD if needed considering the situation in the southern state.
Rejecting the opposition charge on the absence of an effective disaster management plan in the state, Revenue Minister K Rajan said the government has been making all possible efforts to handle any calamity, drawing lessons from the deadly floods in 2018. The "Orange Book 2022", comprising guidelines for the management of relief camps and dam management among other things, has already been published, all department heads have been instructed to take necessary actions in accordance with the directives in it, he said Despite all the preparations, the situation in many places is beyond prediction and warnings, the minister said pointing to the recent landslide reported in Kudayathoor in Idukki district, which had claimed the lives of five people. Calamities are being reported in places that were not even marked as "vulnerable" so far, he said.
"The Centre has already been requested to modernise and expand its warning system under the IMD to ensure more accurate and timely weather predictions." Rajan said the government is getting ready to implement a mass disaster management literacy movement across the state to create comprehensive awareness about the basic disaster management lessons among all sections of people. It also plans to make the disaster and mitigation lessons part of the school and college curriculum in the state to make the young generation part of the drive.
On the suggestion raised by the LoP, the Revenue Minister said the state government is already availing the weather predictions produced by various private agencies by paying them. Meanwhile, waterlogging has been reported in various districts of Kerala especially in Ernakulam today due to incessant rains.