Admitting that there are no standard operating procedures in the state disaster management mechanism, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said that a new disaster management mechanism is being worked out and will be ready by March 2018.
Speaking to media persons, Parrikar said that he has already discussed the matter of SOPs with Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte on Tuesday, asking him to work out such procedures for disaster management.
“The biggest problem is that we do not have standard operating procedures in every aspect. So the people don’t know what to do next (when a disaster strikes),” he maintained. The government is already in touch with an agency which has expertise in disaster management.
Parrikar observed that Goa is lucky that it does not fall in disaster prone zone in all respects: whether it be cyclone, earthquake or floods. But he clarified that he is not justifying under-preparedness vis-à-vis disaster management.
“When I was defence minister I handled such kind of disasters… so I am aware of it,” Parrikar said, narrating an incident that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 where the Army was engaged in rescue operations.
Stating that the Army has separate mechanism for disaster management, the Chief Minister said the state too needs completely independent mechanism which will have data storage centres.
He said that Goa has two separate disaster recovery units where IT data is stored.
“Once we have teams, which is are being formed, I will definitely discuss with the Army for more inputs on forming independent mechanism for disaster management,” Parrikar said.
Asserting that the recent surge in seawater in the state was not a “disaster”, Parrikar admitted that damages indeed took place, and the government will help those whose establishments were legal and which suffered damages due to cyclone Ockhi.
Meanwhile, the state cabinet has resolved to contribute an amount of Rs 5 crore to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in order to mitigate the impact of Ockhi in southwest India.