Burgeoning B’lore lacks disaster control room

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Bangalore: May 9: Although Bangalore’s population is all set to touch the one-crore mark soon, the City is yet to get a disaster control room.

The State government, in 2010, had announced the setting up of a master control room in the City, but even after three years, the proposal has not seen any progress. Presently, the State relies on the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre for alerts and data on natural disasters.  This centre works under the Revenue department which has District Disaster Management Authorities in all the districts.

“There is a disaster management centre in Yelahanka and they have a control room,” said Tushar Girinath, Secretary, Revenue Department (Disaster Management). The 30 kinds of disasters listed include the natural ones such as floods and earthquakes and others like plane hijacking,  urban fire, gas leakages, chemical disasters and food poisoning.

One of the major challenges faced by Bangalore as well as other parts of the State during any crisis is the lack of co-ordination among the government, municipal agencies and disaster management authorities.

To tackle this, the government had envisioned a master control room and made a budgetary allocation of Rs 8.7 crore for it.

The proposed control room would be a joint effort of all the departments in the City– Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board , Public Works Department, Bangalore Electric Supply Company limited and others. But, none of the departments have made an effort in this direction.

“Only two departments have done some amount of integration and tied up for effective disaster management. Others are yet to begin,” added Girinath. When contacted, officials from Bescom said that they would meet representtatives of independent agencies to work out a plan. “By June, we will be submitting a report with details as to how our department can contribute to the control room in terms of manpower and machinery,” an official said.

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