The India Post, Chandigarh, 10th January, 2009 :The national seminar –cum – workshop on “Disaster Management – Institutions and Community” is being organized by the Department of Education SAP ( DRS ) , Panjab University on Jan 10-11 at ICSSR complex , P.U. Prof. S.C. Gakhar , coordinator SAP welcomed the Vice Chancellor , P.U , Chandigarh – Prof. R.C. Sobti , dignitaries and participants on behalf of the Department. In the inaugural address Vice Chancellor R.C Sobti spoke about various kinds of disasters which happen in our lives and said that the challenge is to develop management strategies to prevent and reduce the same.
Dr. Trilochan Singh, in his key note address stressed that there is a need to develop a culture of preparedness / prevention and that can happen only if the respective community becomes an equal partner in the process of disaster management, emphasizing the need for capacity building programs. Director – General CRRID Rashpal Malhotra informed the gathering that his institution was a pioneer in disaster management programs. At a time when we are facing a multitude of disasters, it is a timely action which has been taken by the department and the University. Dr. Nandita, the organizer of the seminar said that there was a need to rethink the relationship between the institutions and community. Combating disasters and their efficient management demands and deserves partnerships that are rooted in a dialogic culture. Academia should assume and perform a key role here; that of devising programs and activities for popular awareness, capacity building and developing a socio-spatial consciousness.
The first technical session which was chaired by Mr.Akhil Bakshi , a fellow of Royal Geographical society and the founder of Yuva Shaktia, a national organization of rural youth leadership at the village level. This session saw presentations from Colonal Harjeet Singh who talked about man-made humanitarian disasters – an Indian perspective – and highlighted the essential features of these, the problems faced and lessons learned from them. Dr.Trilochan Singh presented a case study from north east India on earth quack disasters. He maintained that prevention is better than cure through strategies like Advance Planning, Rehabilitation & Resettlement and Research Development.
Prof. L.N Sharma from PEC talked about the impact of natural disasters and the paradigm shift required in their management. He stressed on the need for the reduction of intensity, duration and impact of hazards as well as to reducing the vulnerability of society, environment and economy .
The second technical session was chaired by Prof B.S Ghuman, Dean, Faculty of Education. In this session four presentations were made. Prof. S Nagpal spoke about how education can become a vehicle in combating disasters. Mr. R.C Kelita, President Of 3E Innovative Foundation, discussed the role of NGO sector in disaster management. Dr. Rakesh Khullar stressed on the need to change attitudes starting from the grassroots levels. This was followed by Akshay Mehra, from State Bank of India who said that people need to be proactive, and then reactive and emphasized the importance of ‘preparedness’.