The Telegraph
Thursday , January 23 , 2014
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Exits hit disaster control agency

New Delhi, Jan. 22: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) itself appears to be facing a “disaster”.

The Prime Minister-headed body is set to lose a key member, who was overseeing matters seen as the backbone of its functioning, to another central agency. This comes less than a month after another member moved out.

T. Nanda Kumar will become the chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The Prime Minister’s office has cleared the new assignment of Kumar, a former IAS officer, and he will join the NDDB in early March, sources said.

Before this, former Union home secretary V.K Duggal had left the NDMA after being appointed Manipur governor.

At the NDMA, Duggal was in charge of disaster management in Uttarakhand after the rain-triggered flood havoc in summer last year in the hill state, including several pilgrimage sites such as Kedarnath.

With the departure of Kumar, the NDMA will be left with six members instead of nine, excluding the Prime Minister.

Kumar was in charge of several key initiatives, including plans aimed at disaster risk reduction (DRR), drought management with insurance firms, co-ordination with UN agencies and awareness campaigns.

“Nanda Kumar will be missed but this is an ongoing process and people leave,” said NDMA vice-chairman Shashidhar Reddy.

He conceded, however, that new members with enough experience would have to be brought in soon to maintain continuity in ongoing projects of the authority.

One of the key projects involves conducting mock DRR drills on responding to earthquakes. One such exercise is planned in March in the northeastern states, many of which are part of the seismically sensitive Himalayan region.

According to experts, over a million people could die if a tremor with the intensity of eight on the Richter scale hits the zone.