The team will hold a coordination conference with different state government agencies and senior government officers at Nabanna and will also have a table-top exercise in the state secretariat the next day. A mock exercise will take place on the third day to review the state’s preparation on earthquake-related disasters.
According to sources, the central team will evaluate the emergency response plan and standard operation procedures in the district level related to industrial chemical disaster on-site and off-site management. The role and responsibility of all stakeholders related to disaster management will be highlighted to enhance coordination among emergency support functions in the district and also to generate public awareness by involving the local government bodies, NGOs and communities. Much stress will be given in the mock exercise to bring coordination among all the stakeholders to be prepared to tackle an eventual earthquake disaster scenario.
The state’s disaster management system has been put to test several times during devastating fire incidents, as there has been concerns as to whether the state disaster management system would be able to tackle more serious natural disasters like earthquake if it occurs.
The state’s vulnerability to earthquakes will be discussed during the meetings and the disaster and medical response plan of the state will be reviewed. The concept of incident response system will be incorporated during the coordination meeting with the stakeholders. “The details of coordination among the related departments and agencies will be stressed and safety issues will be discussed in the table-top exercise to identify the gaps and to chalk out remedial measures to built up an effective earthquake disaster managing mechanism,” said an official.
Following the letter from NDMA, the state disaster management department has already sent letters to the regional meteorological centre, West Bengal Radio Club (Amateur Club), the Howrah and Sealdah divisional railway managers and other stakeholders to send their representatives to attend the coordination conference and the table-top exercise. The department has also listed some of the officers who are required to attend the coordination conference meeting including the Kolkata police commissioner, director of industrial safety and health, the director of fire services at the state level and several government officials from the district level as well.