Shimla: Two days regional workshop on challenges of disaster risk reduction in North-Western Himalayas concluded on Wednesday evening. The discussions were held on disaster mitigation and preparedness and improving disaster response and recovery for the Himalayan States on the concluding day.
Director-cum-Special Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) D.C Rana said that based on the deliberations and discussions during the workshop, various major recommendations and decisions were taken in the perspective of hazard vulnerability of the North-Western Himalayan States.
He said it was decided that a Mitigation Fund would be created for the Himalayan States. It was stressed to have a risk sensitive land use planning for all the urban hill stations and mapping of active faults over the Himalayan regions needs to be carried out for micro level assessments. It was suggested to strengthen the early warning systems across the North-Western Himalayan States for natural disasters. The detailed studies in project mode would to be carried out for earthquakes and landslides with the funding support of outside agencies.
D.C Rana said that focus would be on developing a strong policy and protocols for the trekkers along the tourist destination over Himalayan region. The retrofitting of the existing structures would be taken in phased manner on priority basis. He said it was also stressed during the workshop that building bye-laws needs to be comprehensive and must contain the relevant provisions required to ensure safety of buildings. National Building Codes should be implemented in to in the bye-laws of hill states.
The suggestions were given that old and new commercials establishments coming up in the rural areas should come under the provisions of the building bye-laws and should be strictly enforced. The enactment and enforcement of building bye laws should be carried out by the agencies which are for fully equipped and the nodal agencies like TCP and urban development need to regularly update the engineering provisions of the building bye laws and effectively enforce them.
He said that efforts would be made on enhancing the density of agencies like fire, civil defence etc. and these should be strengthened with latest technological tools for search and rescue etc. The recommendation was also given for encouraging application of space technology for monitoring of various hazards. It was also suggested that community level response mechanism should be developed and policy makers and bureaucrats should be sensitized on various issues of hazards.