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India’s cyclone resilient infrastructures ensuring significant reduction in loss of lives: Nityanand Rai

NEW DELHI : Mr Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India yesterday said that India is vulnerable to a wide range of natural and man-made hazards. He stated that as we move ahead with the cyclone resilient infrastructures in the country, there is a significant shift from pre-1999 Odisha super cyclone to current one, where our efforts have ensured significant reduction in loss of lives.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 3-day e-Conclave ‘Fostering Cyclone Resilience in Industries, Infrastructure and Communities’, organised by CIDM Board at FICCI, jointly with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM); Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Mr Rai while citing reference to India’s take on non-Structural Measures catering to policies, regulations and plans, that promote good coastal  management practices, expressed that India has made phenomenal progress in education and outreach campaigns.

He also referred to the Prime Minister’s signature initiative of setting up of Global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRi) which is a partnership of national governments, UN agencies, multilateral development banks, private sector and knowledge institutions that aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development. He added that over 20 countries have already enrolled as members of CDRi apart from several multilateral organisations.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI stated the significance of Cyclone Resilient Infrastructure which can withstand the cyclones and other extreme climatic hazards. He stated that India and its neighbouring countries have faced the disastrous effects of cyclones and the challenge is to mitigate the effects and predict accurately. He further added that, FICCI has been working in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction keeping the safety of Industries and infrastructure in mind.

Mr Agendra Kumar, President, ESRI India Technologies Ltd mentioned that with rapid climate change, the occurrence of extreme weather events has become more frequent and the role of GIS and Remote Sensing becomes more critical and successful tools in disaster management. He stated that a resilient System has the ability to stand and recover from the disastrous effects of cyclones and recover quickly. “The concept of Geo-design is very important for creating Resilient Infrastructure and Communities. GIS technology helps in creating community platforms so that the messages can be sent to various communities,” he added.

Dr Debapriya Dutta, Adviser & Head/Scientist-G, National Geospatial Programme (NGP), Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India spoke on the space technologies, the use of the measurement tools, dissemination data as part of the risk reduction and resilience building. He further added that there should be integration of the space technologies with ICTs, which presents huge opportunity for global satellite system for the infrastructure and utility mapping, relevant to the damage assessment and the early warning system.

Major General M K Bindal, Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India stated that a large part of our country, almost 5700 km of that whole coastline is highly vulnerable to the cyclones which consequently results in recurrent loss of lives and property. He said that hazard risk mitigation is the key towards mitigating risks. He said that annually 32 crore people, which accounts to almost one fourth of the country’s population are affected to Cyclone Risk hazards. He also mentioned about country’s flagship National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) and its role in improving cyclone mitigation efforts along the coastline.

Dr Raj Kumar, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Govt of India said that the east coast is most vulnerable than the west coast in the severity of cyclones. He added that rapid scan has been quite useful in monitoring thunderstorm type of events and one can monitor the cyclones by rapid scan within 30 minutes in smaller areas. He made special mention of ISRO’s doppler radars and how they can provide extensive data on extreme weather events.

Dr Mrutunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Ministry of Earth Sciences mentioned that like the Indian subcontinent, the entire South Asian region is prone for extreme weather events, especially cyclones. He hoped that with latest technologies and prediction mechanisms available with IMD, we can minimize the loss of lives & property in India and the region.

Mr SN Pradhan, DG, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India emphasized on building community resilience and shared that NDRF continues to build capacities amongst the communities by creating more awareness. He urged the state governments, district authorities and private sector to join hands in conducting mock drills jointly with NDRF. He appealed to FICCI to work with NDRF as a key stakeholder of Team India to build resilient communities across the nation.

Mr Rajendra Singh, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Govt of India said that the Indian coastline is vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones and related hydro-meteorological hazards. Member NDMA also explained the government of India’s National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) running since 2009 with a view to address cyclone risks in the country. NDMA is implementing the Project in coordination with participating State Governments and the National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM). The Project has identified 13 cyclone prone States and Union Territories (UTs), with varying levels of vulnerability. These States/UT have further been classified into two categories, based on the frequency of occurrence of cyclone, size of population and the existing institutional mechanism for disaster management. 

Over 500 Delegates from all across the Nation and neighbouring countries have registered for the e-Conclave. There are six technical sessions planned during the course of 3 days of the e-Conclave with two sessions on each day. Session on ‘Cyclone Impacts on Establishments and Infrastructure: A Risk Assessment and Modelling Approach with Recommendations’ was chaired by Mr L Mansingh, (Retd), Former Secretary to the Government of India. Dr Chandan Ghosh, Professor & Head, Resilient Infrastructure Division, National Institute of Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs; Dr CVR Murty, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras and Mr Sharad Tripathi, CEO, Fluidyn – Transoft Group also shared their perspective.

The session on ‘Developing Sustainable Tools for Reducing Extreme Weather Event in the Region’, was chaired by Mr Kamal Kishore, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government. Dr Animesh Kumar, OIC & Deputy Chief, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); Mr Ardito M Kodijat, National Professional Officer, UNESCO-IOC Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre, Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Information Unit and Mr Debajit Das, National Project Coordinator, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) also shared their perspective.

The e-Conclave is supported by GIS Partner ESRI and Associate Partners – Gail India, Indian Oil, Power Grid Corporation of India and RMSI