12 Sep :An urgent meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority was convened today to discuss issues arising out of the Kosi Floods in Bihar. The UPA government had passed the National Disaster Management Act in 2005 and had set up the National Disaster Management Authority as a statutory body to prepare plans, lay down guidelines and recommend measures for disaster management and mitigation.
2. It was noted that the first stage of immediate response and evacuation is almost over. It was reported that all the marooned persons have been rescued, though there are reports to the contrary. The National Executive Committee was asked to give PM a full report within the next couple of days.
3. The Central Government’s institutional and coordination mechanisms have responded in time. 37 Army Columns, 775 boats from the Army, Navy, central Paramilitary Forces, National Disaster Response Force etc. have been deployed. Nearly 4000 jawans are engaged round the clock. 1.25 lakh MT of foodgrains, 10 lakh Galvanized Iron sheets for housing, 300 MT of medicines, 52 ambulances, ample fodder and a number of medical teams, have been provided. An ad-hoc release of about Rs.1000 cr. has also been made. Members of the NDMA, the Cabinet Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Home Secretary have visited and taken stock in detail.
4. The following issues were raised:-
• Relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts should be coordinated at the highest level.
• Breach of embankment at Kusaha should be plugged on top priority basis and the affected irrigation projects should also be reconstructed.
• Free food grains for flood victims. Compensation for loss of house, crop and cattle.
• Complete loan waiver for affected persons. Fresh crop loans on priority.
• Arrangements for medical assistance.
• Housing grant for reconstruction of houses.
• Repair/reconstruction of infrastructure – roads, electricity, drinking water, schools and madarsas etc.
• Rehabilitation of fishermen, weavers, farmers and herdsmen.
6. PM directed that all the points should be quickly examined in order to evolve a pragmatic, time-bound and well monitored programme.
7. The areas of immediate action were identified as:-
a) Plugging of breach
b) Setting up more relief camps
c) Providing safe drinking water and sanitation in camps and villages.
d) Health surveillance
e) Preparing affected agricultural fields for Rabi crop
f) Proper implementation of the various components under Bharat Nirman – roads, water, telephones, electricity and housing.
8. The following decisions were taken: • Immediately prepare viable relief and rehabilitation plans for each of the districts in consultation with the State Government.
• Establish a system of close monitoring to ensure proper fund utilization and daily reporting of same.
• Given the enormity of the task all agencies, State, central, Civil Society, corporates should be involved for specified items of rehabilitation.
• A team of NDMA may be positioned in the affected areas to ensure better coordination.
9. PM ended the meeting with the observation that everyone’s heart and thoughts are with the people of Bihar in their hour of distress and the Government’s actions should match.