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Cabinet Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba chaired meeting of NCMC to review preparedness to deal with heat wave and forest fires

Newdelhi:6/6/24:Union Cabinet Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review preparedness to deal with heat waves and forest fires.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) made detailed presentations on the current situation of heat waves and forest fires respectively including steps being taken to deal with them, across the country.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that 10-22 above-normal heat wave days were observed in different parts of the country between April to June 2024. It was also informed that as per the forecast for June, above-normal heatwave days are likely over most areas of Northwest India and neighboring areas from north Central India. This year, the monsoon is likely to be normal and above normal in most parts of the country. Regular alerts on heat waves are being sent by IMD.

NDMA also informed that a series of preparatory meetings have been conducted, starting from October 2023, by Central Ministries / Departments and State Governments. Advisories have been issued to states to activate Control Rooms, enforce SoPs for heat waves, ensure drinking water availability, preparedness of health facilities including availability of essential medicines and ORS and uninterrupted power supply. States have also been advised to conduct fire safety audits of schools, hospitals, and other institutions regularly and reduce response time in incidents of fire. State governments informed that the situation is being reviewed and monitored closely with relevant departments and District Collectors.

The Cabinet Secretary requested the Chief Secretaries to regularly review and monitor the short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures to ramp up preparedness to deal with heat waves. He emphasized that efforts to maintain and augment sources of water supply should be stepped up and fire safety audits of all institutions be ensured regularly.

On forest fire management, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change made a presentation, outlining the action plan and preparedness to deal with the forest fires in various parts of the country. It was informed that regular forest fire alerts are being disseminated through mobile SMS and emails. A Forest Fire Alert System portal named VAN AGNI, which provides pre-fire and near real-time forest fire alerts has also been developed by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) to assist the states and other agencies.

Cabinet Secretary reiterated that during the review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 02nd June 2024, it was emphasized that the issue of forest fires should be given greater attention. A regular system of preparatory measures and annual drills to deal with forest fires, as done in case of floods etc. may be put in place. A comprehensive approach focusing on prevention and quick and effective response should be adopted.

The Cabinet Secretary observed that States & UTs need to be better prepared to meet the associated challenges related to heat waves and forest fires to ensure no loss of life and to minimize damage. He stressed the importance of preparatory measures as outlined by NDMA and MoEFCC.

The Cabinet Secretary assured the States that Central Ministries/ Departments are closely engaging with them to ensure optimum preparedness and to implement timely mitigation and response measures.

Union Home Secretary, Secretaries of Ministry of EF&CC, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Member & HoD, NDMA, CISC HQ (IDS), DG, NDRF, DG, IMD, DG, FSI, DG, Forest, Additional Secretaries of  Ministry of Labour & Employment and MHA, Advisor NDMA, Director, NRSC attended the meeting. Chief Secretaries of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, NCT of Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, and senior officials from Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, also attended the meeting through video conferencing.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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