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Disaster management team quits

New Delhi, June 19: The vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority and all its eight other members have resigned following signals from the government that it wanted to reconstitute the body.

Union home secretary Anil Goswami, who is said to have nudged seven governors appointed by the previous government to quit, yesterday called up at least five NDMA members with the same advice, sources said.

The members quit today while vice-chairman Shashidhar Reddy said he had put in his papers on June 16.

“This is routine. We received a call from the home secretary yesterday and we and the vice-chairman have resigned,” said member K.M. Singh.

The NDMA members have been asked to continue till a new team is selected. The NDMA is an autonomous body that oversees disaster preparedness, enforces the national disaster response policies, and coordinates disaster management, search and rescue, and subsequent humanitarian operations.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was the ex officio chairman of the NDMA, had been the first to resign.

With Narendra Modi now heading the body, changes were expected but none of the members resigned by themselves.

The members, who enjoy the rank and pay of a minister of state, include K. Saleem Ali, the former CBI officer who was in charge of the Ishrat Jahan murder case.

The future of the NDMA is likely to be entrusted to P.K. Mishra, the additional principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mishra headed the six-member task force that made recommendations on the restructuring of the entire disaster management architecture in India, suggesting the NDMA be made leaner and more efficient.

The Modi government is likely to hand over the body’s reins to specialists in the field and expand its scope.

Governor quits

Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt, appointed in 2010, has stepped down two days after receiving a call from Goswami.