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CM for National Disaster Management Agency on US pattern
SRINAGAR, Jul 3: The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday pitched for a resourceful, capable and pragmatic National Disaster Management Agency at the union government level which would be at beck and call of all state governments at the time of high magnitude and unforeseen natural calamities like tsunamis, earthquakes, cloud bursts, etc.

“This high capacity Agency could help the states, as is the case in United States, during the calamities of huge dimensions of devastation,” he said adding that individuals states could manage calamities of smaller dimensions but not like those of Uttarakhand, earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008 and Leh cloud burst in 2010. He said during the calamities of bigger magnitude all states otherwise looked for the help from union government and armed forces for rescue and relief measures, as such, a high powered and high capacity Disaster Management Agency at the national level was needed to be actively available to the states to cope up major calamities in a befitting manner.

Interacting with the Probationary IFS Officers here, the Chief Minister underlined the importance of balancing development needs of people with environment necessities adding that unchecked and illegal infrastructure development particularly in tourist areas at the cost of environment was fatal and responsible for massive damage and causalities during natural calamities.

“When we block the natural passage of rain water coming down from mountains by building structures, we would be definitely in heavy trouble, if there are incessant rains or cloud bursts,” he said asserting that tampering with nature always proved dangerous.

He advised the young forest officers to face the modern challenges of carrying forward development in consonance with environment requirements in a meticulous and effective way to satisfy both human beings and the nature. He said, “While we have to accommodate the economic aspects of locals emanating from tourism, linking of remote and far-flung areas with main highways, construction of schools, health centres, etc we have to maintain the ecology and the environment of that area simultaneously.”

Omar said that in a state like Jammu and Kashmir where accessibility and road communication was vital for sustenance and economic welfare of people living in far-flung areas, construction of roads under PMGSY was a challenge which had to be dealt with total care and efficiency. “It is not a zero sum game, we cannot have one or the other way but strike a balance so that both go side by side and without hindering or hampering each other,” he said emphasizing the larger need of conserving water bodies, forests and natural wealth.

Referring to the vast bio-diversity, geographical and topographic de-similarities of the state, the Chief Minister referred to the diversity of three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He said such a unique feature was perhaps not available anywhere in the country. He asked probationary IFS Officers them to study the nature, geography, culture and rear fauna and flora of the state. He said it would prove highly beneficial for them in future.

The Chief Minister also referred to the complexity in the conservation and restoration of world famous Dal lake and said that the economic involvement of huge number of people with Dal lake, their residence within the lake and other issues had put a greater challenge before the ecologists and environmentalists to address problems of Dal lake effectively and holistically.

Replying to the questions of the probationary officers, Omar said that the tradition of preserving architecture, heritage and environment by the people in Ladakh was a positive sign in present day life style changing world.

“You can find the old architect of Ladakh still being adopted while constructing modern infrastructure,” he said adding that this was of course a good sign.

Answering a question on forest cover in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister said that during the period of militancy there had been great damage to the forests particularly in North Kashmir and Pir Panchal area. He said measures had already been put in place to rejuvenate depleted forest areas through CAMPA and other initiatives.

Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B B Vyas, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Vinod Ranjan, Principal Indira Gandhi Forest Academy, R K Goel and other officers were present in the interaction session in which 41 probationary IFS Officers participated, shared their experience of visiting the state with the Chief Minister and asked him questions on various subjects including economy, tourism, forests, environment, development and politics.

News Updated at : Thursday, July 4, 2013
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