The Jammu and Kashmir government is planning to make disaster management part of school curriculum to raise awareness after a US-based geophysicist Roger Bilham predicted deadly earthquake in Kashmir with potential to kill three lakh people.
"Disaster management training should not be made an occasional ritual but needs to be mainstreamed. It should be taught as a subject from primary to post-graduate level," said Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Ali Samoon in a two-day seminar held in Srinagar on Tuesday.
"A full fledged disaster management department and an institute for disaster management needs to be put in place for which we need a legislation which in under the active consideration of the government," said Samoon.
The government is battling the panic that the recent report instilled in the minds of peoples besides preparing itself to brave any such scenario in the future. "There is a paradigm shift in disaster management from rescue, relief and rehabilitation to planning, preparedness and mitigation," he said.
The government is considering training recently-elected panchs and sarpanch in disaster management. "The core for better and organised disaster management is the coordination among the line departments," said Samoon.
Bilham of Colorado University recently predicted a major earthquake in Kashmir that could trigger landslides blocking the Jhelum river and plunge the valley under water for three months.
According to the US professor, new global positioning system (GPS) data readings reveal the gradual movement of rocks in the Zanskar mountains, north of the valley. "The zone would rupture when a quake eventually happens. The quake would be 200 kilometres wide as against 80 kilometres predicted earlier," says the study.
The quake is likely to affect 1.5 million population of Srinagar if slippage occurs over a length of 300 kilometres, as is possible, a mega quake of magnitude 9 is likely to occur.
Tuesday's training programme was sponsored by Urban Risk Reduction Project, government of India, and organised by the Divisional Management, Kashmir, in collaboration with Civil Defense Organization, Srinagar.
"Instead of panic reaction, it is always better that we should prepare ourselves for any natural calamity in an organized manner," said speakers on the occasion.
The exercise was attended by additional deputy commissioner Mohammad Akber Ganai, DIG Civil Defence Home Guards and Auxillary Police Mubark Ganai, principal Government College for Women Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, SPTraffic Haseeb-ur-Rehman, Joint Director Fire and Emergency Service, RY Dubey.