A state control room in Mantralaya, which plays an important role in the state’s disaster management action plan, has been working without a dedicated core team since it started functioning a decade ago.
The facility was upgraded after heavy rains devastated the city in July 2005. The control room, which is operated by the Relief and Rehabilitation Department, is expected to act promptly in providing uniformity in approach and clear perception of various issues, thus avoiding undue complications.
But the basic goal of control room is hardly met because different staffers from various departments work there on a daily basis. The standard procedures get affected because of this discontinuity and lack of trained personnel.
The primary function of the 24x7 control room, also known as emergency operations centre, is to coordinate, manage operations and resources, collect data, keep records and inform public.
It is also expected to provide a quick and effective response in emergency situations such as heavy rains. According to a Mantralaya officer, the control room needs a core team of at least 14 people to run day to day functioning, especially during emergencies.
“But we have a team of staffers who are deputed on a daily basis from among 32 departments in Mantralaya,” said the officer, requesting anonymity.
“I don’t know when the government will give the control room a dedicated core team.”
Presently, two batches of seven staffers work in two shifts of 12 hours each. This puts undue pressure on the staffers who ideally should work an eight-hour shift.
“These staffers are trained to work in the control room and this creates great difficulty for the Relief and Rehabilitation Department officers who supervise the control room. They have to keep repeating the same things,” he added.
What is alarming is that the staffer who has worked in the control room on a specific day turns up for duty after months.
“This happens because 32 departments take turns to depute their respective staffer(s).” Other than the core team, staff on call and reserved staff also have to be deputed in the control room.