‘National Disaster’ call is politically motivated: Experts

While politicians, activists, fishermen and even the state government are demanding the Central government to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national disaster, experts say that there is no such concept called ‘national disaster’ as mentioned in the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) of 2005. So far, no such calamity had been declared as a ‘National Disaster’.
‘National Disaster’ call is
politically motivated: Experts

Chennai

Cyclone Ochki had wreaked havoc in Kanniyakumari. More than 100 fishermen had died and many are still missing. Several lakh trees were uprooted in the cyclone and properties worth several crore were destroyed.
The fishermen leaders, kin of fishermen, politicians from various parties and even the state government had demanded the central government to announce Cyclone Ockhi as a national disaster.However, this demand seems to be politically motivated as there is no such concept called ‘national disaster’ in National Disaster Management Act of 2005, said some of the experts.
Jones Thomas, Doctoral Research Scholar on Disaster Management at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, said that there is no doubt that Cyclone Ockhi had wreaked havoc in the district but the demand to announce it as a ‘national disaster’ is not realistic and it is just politically motivated.
“There is nothing called national disaster mentioned in NDMA
and so far no catastrophe in India has been declared as national disaster in India. Also, no special work has been undertaken by the Central government if any disaster is declared as a ‘national disaster’,” he explained.
Jones also said that many people assume that if a disaster is declared as ‘national disaster’ more funds would be allotted and emergency rescue measures would be undertaken. But, actually that is not the case. For assessment of damage and allocation of funds to the state there is a National Crisis Management Committee and it would convene a meeting to discuss the damage inflicted by natural disasters.
Even during the 2015 Chennai floods, the state government had submitted a memorandum with the loss pegged at Rs 8,481 crore and the allotted sum was just Rs.940 crore. However, Rs.1,000 was allotted later by the Prime Minister, explained Jones.

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