Staff at the North Goa District Collectorate has expressed that they are unaware of the micro-level disaster management cells at the village level.
A senior official in the North Goa District Collectorate office, speaking to this daily, said that his office is only responsible for coordination between various government departments and emergency services during the time of disaster and it has no manpower like that of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
“We mainly deal with various departments like police, fire and emergency services, Coast Guard and Navy. Our office is responsible for coordinating and ensuring a speedy administrative response to any disaster situation in the district,” the official said.
When questioned about village-level disaster management cells, the official said, “If there is a provision in the Disaster Management Act, 2005, then there could be…I guess the sarpanch must be head of the cell.” However, there was no firm reply onwhether micro-level disaster management cells exist in north Goa. He said that the government has neither the trained manpower nor the required type of equipment for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster.
The official was also unaware of the proposal mooted by the state government in its five-year annual work plans from 2010-11 to 2014-15 for the formation of a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) comprising of various agencies like the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), fire and emergency services, civil defence, home guards, NCC and NSS volunteers.
He said that only for the period of monsoon, a control room is set up which functions for 24 hours from May 1 to September 31, every year. However, once monsoon withdraws from the state, the control room is dissolved. He further said that in case of minor disasters, the state government depends on the local agencies and in case of major disasters or natural calamities, the state will have to call the Pune-based NDRF team, which is the nearest to Goa.