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NBU to offer disaster study

Siliguri, May 4: North Bengal University will start a three-month certificate course in disaster management from the coming academic session following prods from governor M.K. Narayanan who highlighted the role the institution needed to play in the region prone to natural calamities.

On April 25, the executive council — one of the highest decision making bodies at the NBU — approved a proposal of the department of lifelong learning and extension (to start the course at the university).

“North Bengal’s geography is such that it is prone to natural calamities like landslides, earthquakes and floods. Honourable Governor M.K. Narayanan who is also the chancellor had asked the varsity to take necessary steps to start disaster management courses. We have initiated the process and the executive council at its last meeting on April 25 approved the proposal to start the course. In this way, we can prepare youths in the region to play a proactive role during natural calamities,” said vice-chancellor Somnath Ghosh.

Narayanan had asked the varsity to focus on the study of disaster management at the 42nd convocation in April 2010. “The varsity is located in a region that is prone to natural calamities. Landslides are rampant in Darjeeling hills, floods in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar and earthquakes and cyclones hit this region frequently. In this kind of scenario, the varsity can play a vital role by establishing a Centre of Excellence for study of disaster management,” Narayanan had said.

However, the NBU took no steps to start the disaster management course and the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the university’s lack of initiative at the 43rd annual convocation in April 2011 and the 44th one in October 2013.

Md. Yasin, head of the department of lifelong learning and extension, said 20 students would be enrolled in the first batch.

“The first batch will start when the new academic session begins in July-August. The minimum qualification for a student to be eligible for the course is to pass Madhyamik or any other equivalent board. The students will not have to pay any fee and the varsity will bear the cost of the course,” he said.

For this academic session, there will be just one batch.

“In the subsequent years, we will have two or more batches in one academic session. At the end of the course, the students will get certificates from the varsity. We will soon work out the course structure,” Yasin said.