Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday directed officials to form state disaster response teams at every divisional commissionerate and asked civic bodies to set up teams for immediate rescue work at their level.
In a meeting of state disaster management authorities here, Shinde said teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) cannot reach every disaster site well in time and hence, disaster response teams should be formed at all divisional commissionerates. Presently, two teams of the NDRF are stationed at Dhule and Nagpur.
Citing that the Thane Municipal Corporation has set up a disaster response team, which has done excellent work, especially during building collapse incidents, Shinde said all civic bodies should set up their rescue teams, mainly in places where there are high-rise buildings and high chances of disasters.
The chief minister also directed officials to spend the state disaster risk management fund effectively and to start Konkan disaster mitigation works immediately.
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The Konkan region frequently witnesses natural calamities. Hence, the state cabinet has already sanctioned Rs 3,200 crore for various disaster relief works in Konkan, he said.
Some of the works include construction of underground channels, erosion control embankments, dams, multi-purpose cyclone shelters, preventive measures in landslide prone areas and setting up lightning arrester systems, the chief minister said, urging officials to start these works after completing technical procedures.
He further said that incessant rainfall has been declared as a natural calamity and immediate action should be taken to provide compensation to affected persons.
Shinde also directed officials to come up with a system to ensure that the disaster-affected people get compensation within 15 days as per panchnama (assessment) conducted. During the meeting, relief and rehabilitation department secretary Aseem Gupta made a presentation and gave details of the various steps taken by the department for disaster response. According to the relief and rehabilitation department, the state government had spent Rs 1,974 crore for COVID-19 related measures.
The relief and rehabilitation department has distributed Rs 1,038 crore in ex-gratia for deaths that occurred in the state and 5,000 cases are pending, officials said during the meeting. At least 437 people died and 680 were injured in natural calamities last year, they said.