Centre to bring in amendment to Civil Defence Act

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Bangalore, Jun 14 (UNI) The Centre is contemplating to bring in an amendment to the Civil Defence Act to give more teeth to Civil Defence Forces in the country, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said here today.

Speaking, after inaugurating a three-day international conference on 'Disaster Management', jointly organised by National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi and Directorate of Home Guards, Civil Defence Fire and Emergency Services, Karnataka, Mr Patil said ''The amendment is aimed at extending jurisdiction and giving more power to Civil Defence Forces including Home Guards to act during disasters.'' Stressing the need for gearing up the machinery to implement the Government policy and law, Mr Patil said, ''We should be prepared to meet the challenges posed by disasters occurring either naturally or man-made. Creating awareness about the modern technology developed to get in preparedness was most important and hence the National Disaster Management Authority was formed under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister. All the states should follow suit by forming state, district and taluk level authorities.'' He said disaster can be mitigated, if proper awareness is created among the public about what is to be done and what not to be done during the disaster.

Speaking on the occasion, Karnataka Minister for Home Dr A V S Acharya assured to implement Disaster Management Act by establishing state authority. He suggested that there should be a regional and national registry about the disaster that had taken place so that public would be aware about the past and be prepared to meet the challenges whenever they occurred.

Former Army Staff General Chief, V P Malik said 22 states in India were vulnerable to natural disasters and 40 million hectares of land would get affected. Sixteen per cent of the land were drought prone and about 30 million people were affected annually in various parts of the country.

An exhibition displaying modern equipment to be used during disaster was the main attraction of the conference, which was attended by 450 delegates from India and also from Singapore, US and China. Defence Services, besides police and civil services had put up stalls and were educating the visiting public.

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