National

Post Uttarakhand tragedy, Plan panel to work on prevention mechanism

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on June 26, 2013

Asks Kathmandu-based institute to help with early warning systems





The devastation and loss of lives caused by the flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand may have finally woken up the Government to the need for preventive action.

The Planning Commission has decided to seek expert advice to work on early warning systems and a sustainable development model for eco-fragile regions.

It has asked the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Kathmandu-based institute promoting ecologically sound development of mountainous regions, to give a presentation on what technology the country could adopt to warn about disasters and how development and sustainability could be balanced.

“I have written to ICIMOD to give us a presentation on what kind of technology we can adopt to get information about calamities in advance. They would also advise us on the development model and the precautionary principles for eco-fragile regions,” Planning Commission Mihir Shah told Business Line.

Representatives from all ministries and departments concerned including environment and water resources would be asked to attend the meeting.

The Government has been facing flak over the last 10 days, since rain, flash-floods and landslides caused havoc in large parts of Uttarakhand, for allowing mindless development activities in fragile regions.

Sustainability

“When we do development, we should have sustainability in mind. Both go hand in hand. In our haste towards development, fundamental principles on how development should happen are ignored. We have to adhere to norms,” Shah said.

ICIMOD, an independent, inter-governmental non-profit knowledge organisation which acquires, develops and exchanges knowledge related to different aspects of integrated mountain development, has expertise in handling calamities in the Himalayan region. It has worked successfully in establishing early warning systems in rural Nepal prone to flash-floods which could also help India.

“There are sophisticated early warning systems available now. We can make much better use of technology. Information in advance can help save a lot of lives,” Shah said, adding that ICIMOD can help India in identifying the technology suitable for the country.

ICIMOD on Monday said in a release that the severity of the recent disaster could have been mitigated with a better end-to-end information system and proper infrastructure planning.

The organisation added that it has outlined a series of activities to be undertaken as part of disaster risk reduction and community resilience, including delivery of training in disaster risk reduction.

amiti.sen@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 26, 2013

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