AGARTALA, Nov 7 – There is an urgent need to make all the Northeastern States well-equipped in handling disaster keeping in mind their vulnerability, said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.“Everybody knows that the North East including Tripura falls under seismic zone V, considered as most vulnerable tremor zone, but the region is still lagging behind in terms of disaster preparedness, he said while addressing a two-day worshop on Disaster Management at Prajna Bhavan here recently.
“Since the North East is vulnerable to earthquakes, the Centre should take special care to ensure capacity building in all the States of the region. Showcasing equipments for disaster management will not help and there must be demonstration at the ground level,” he said.
Calling upon for preparedness, both physical and mental in disaster mitigation, Sarkar said that there must be efforts to raise master trainers because equipment will prove futile if persons could not use sophisticated equipment.
Poking at the Centre’s step-motherly attitude in allocating less amount in disaster preparedness, he said that almost all the States had been given Rs 5 crore each annually for this purpose. “Three Northeastern States – Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura which fall under the seismic zone V have got only Rs 1 crore each annually,” he said.
Making a strong point of inclusion of four key sectors in disaster management, Sarkar said that there must be efforts to ensure power supply, telecommunication, healthcare and drinking water facility even in case of major tremor. Director of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) RK Sinha and high officials from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also joined the workshop.
Meanwhile, the Centre has alerted the State Government about possible earthquake in North and Dhalai districts after the devastating tremor in Sikkim.
Talking to reporters, Revenue Minister Badal Chowdhury said that experts had already predicted a major tremor may hit two districts – North and Dhalai in the State though the entire State falls under seismic zone V. “Accordingly steps are being initiated to make local administration better prepared for any kind of eventuality,” he said.
Adding more woes, the PWD has identified at least 2,000 old buildings including Neermahal, Ujjyanta Palace, Raj Bhavan as potential sites for retrofitting. However, there is need to undertake further study to assess the vulnerability of these buildings, he added.