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Revamping of Civil Defence in Himachal Pradesh for Emergency Response

Revamping of Civil Defence in Himachal Pradesh for Emergency Response

“Panchayat Pradhans to be Civil Defence Warden (Ex-Officio)”

A Spokesman of the State Government said here today that Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA), Department of Revenue has launched a scheme on Creation of Task Force of Youth Volunteers for “Better Disaster Preparedness and Response in the State”. Under this scheme the aim is to create a cadre of alteast 10-15 volunteers per panchayat for effective disaster risk reduction and to train the Youth volunteers in life saving skills of medical first aid & search and rescue. This was envisaged in The Vision Document as adopted by the State Government provide that in order to tackle natural calamities like earthquake and landslides, a task force of youth volunteers will be constituted at local level.

In order to attract talented youth to act as a volunteer and spare his/her valuable time to undergo the relevant training courses, he/she is being paid an honorarium of Rs. 200/- (Two Hundred) per day while undergoing the training. During the trainings, the volunteers will be paid the travel reimbursement as per actuals only as the lunch and tea will be provided during the trainings. These trained volunteers will be paid as per the Government of India’s guidelines and rules whenever their services are utilized during the disaster response, relief and rehabilitation activities, etc. by the respective district administration out of the funds available with them for disaster response. A complete database of the trained volunteers will be compiled and regularly updated/maintained by the districts. There will be regular refreshers courses & training sessions for these volunteers.

Discussions were going on to effectively man and utilize the services of these trained volunteers for disaster situation and other emergencies. In this regard, it was discussed to link these trained volunteers with a setup like Civil Defence in the State. The State Executive Committee constituted under the Disaster Management Act 2005 deliberated on the issue and recommended empowerment of SDMs and Pardhans under Civil Defence Act so that volunteers may be managed through this system.

The Home Department, Government of Himachal Pradesh has already notified in the year 1975 declared the District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners as Civil Defence Controllers in the Districts and the Commandants, Home Guards as Deputy Controllers, Civil Defence in the respective district. Recently the Home Department has issued two notifications empowering Sub-Divisional Magistrate of a Sub-Division to exercise the powers of enrolment of members of Civil Defence in the Sub-Division and appointing the Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat as the Warden of Civil Defence in that Gram Panchayat.

The HPSDMA’s Scheme is already being implemented in each district by respective District Disaster Management Authority headed by the Deputy Commissioners and the projected target for the 3226 panchayats in the State with 15 volunteers per panchayat, the number of the trained volunteers for the state in next three years will be 48,390. The database of these volunteers will be prepared and updated by the respective districts regularly and their services will be utilized during the disasters, road accidents and other emergencies. This will significantly enhance the capacity of the State at the grass root level to deal with the disasters and emergencies.  This initiative will also take Civil Defence structure till Panchayat level .

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