First responders to any disaster are citizens: J&K Lt Gov at 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' Conference

New Delhi: A two-day Conference on ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ focusing on Jal Shakti (water resources) and Disaster Management was organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in Jammu in collaboration with the Governments of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on 30 November and 1 December. The Conference was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (PP) Jitendra Singh.

During the Conference, the Minister for Revenue & Disaster Management, Government of Tamil Nadu, R.B. Udhayakumar, said this collaboration will promote the exchange of technical expertise and best practices in the areas of optimal use of water resources in domestic consumption, agriculture and other usages.

Sharing advances and experiences in disaster management will help minimize the magnitude of their adverse impacts through meticulous preparedness, swift response, quick rehabilitation and recovery, Udhayakumar said, observing that each disaster is different in its own nature and teaches a lesson to prepare better. He said that experiences in using water efficiently will be useful for participants.

Lt Gov of J&K, G.C. Murmu, emphasized the importance of water conservation and the sustainability of natural resources, saying that agricultural scientists should study the cropping pattern to suit the monsoon and other climatic conditions.

There are certain structural things to be done to save water and mitigate the crisis of water shortage, Murmu said, adding it is not only about the availability of water but also about the quality of water.

Murmu noted that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has proved how sanitation can improve the lives of people, and, elaborating on the role of citizens during natural and man-made disasters, he said the first responders to any disaster are citizens and their empowerment is the absolute requirement. He stressed upon the awareness among citizens through early warning and SMS services, among others.

The Chief Secretary of J&K, B.V.R. Subrahmanyam complimented DARPG for organizing this conference and said the themes of the Conference are appropriate for J&K. He said no region in the country is as prone to natural disasters as J&K, quoting incidents of earthquake of 2005 and floods of 2014 which is due to the unique topography in the region.

Subrahmanyam said that disaster management includes prevention as well as mitigation and stressed that we should learn from the state of Tamil Nadu to build up capacities. He said water should be taken to every doorstep, and by June 2021 the entire state should have pipe water supply.

Tamil Nadu is one of the best managers of water resources, he said, and said the Devika project has potential to become a tourist destination in J&K.

Delivering his welcome address, the Additional Secretary, DARPG, V. Srinivas, said that DARPG has taken various initiatives including visits of DARPG delegations to J&K in September, after which the collaboration with the J&K Government has gained momentum, added that DARPG’s conference earlier in November had adopted ‘Sushasan Sankalp: Jammu Resolution’ and two of its points are being implemented today.

Srinivas said ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ has brought together the partner state of Tamil Nadu and UTs of J&K and Ladakh, and added that ‘Sahyog Sankalp’ will be adopted in the valedictory session. The objective of this conference is national integration, he observed.

The Conference is being attended by about 350 delegates from State Government.

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The ID Staff

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