The district, North 24-parganas, has been divided geographically into three parts, e.g. (a) vast reverine belt in the Southern part of Basirhat Sub-Division. (Sundarban area), (b) the industrial and urbanized zone of Bidhannagar and Barrackpore Sub-division (c) vast cultivating plain land in the Bongaon Sub-division and adjoining part of Barrackpore, Barasat & Northern part of Basirhat Sub-Divisions. This vast district comprises of 5 nos. of Sub-divisions, 22 nos. Of Development Block, 27 numbers of municipalities. Main rivers of this district are Hooghly, Ichamati, Bidyadhari, Raimongal etc. Geographical diversity of the district has a great impact in over all disaster management plan of this district. North 24 Parganas is one of the highest populated district in India as well as density of district is also very high. District is situated in very high risk zone(zone-IV) in terms of earthquake.
The drainage capabilities of the canals, rivers etc. have been reduced due to unplanned manmade activities and some ecological changes like silting of the rivers etc. So, the flood/heavy water logging has been common occurrence every year in the most parts of the aforesaid sub-divisions. Similarly, Cyclone and High tide has been commonly found in the reverine belts of Basirhat sub-division. Strangely, several focal areas of Gaighata Block of Bongaon sub-division had been found to be hit by tornado several times in the past.
Not all disasters can be predicted or prevented. However, precautionary measures taken within the existing infrastructure, in the form of preparedness, can considerably mitigate the human sufferings, loss of life and property and restore normalcy at the earliest.
The course of a disaster is dependent on how early the same is identified and how effectively specific control measures are applied. The impact of the disaster control measures can be expected to be significant only if proper measures are applied in time. Scarce resources are often wasted in undertaking such measures after the disaster has already peaked and the outcome of such measures in limiting the damage and in reducing human sufferings morbidity with loss of life and property becomes negligible.
It is therefore, of paramount importance to formulate an action plan to face the situation arising out of the same. The rescue, relief and rehabilitation activities are not the work of a single department, rather constitute best co-ordinated activities amongst the concerned Government departments, 3-tier Panchayat Raj Institutions, N.G.Os., peoples&rsquo representatives of Assembly / Parliament, CBOs and the Community as a whole.
Experience of past decades has proved that unprecedented flood, heavy rainfall and cyclones highly affect the normal life and livelihood of people of this densely populated district. The very highly vulnerable costal area suffers most from loss of life and property accompanied by environmental damage.
This plan for the year 2013-14 has been prepared by the Disaster Management Section of the District Administration of North 24 Parganas using information&rsquos received from the blocks and Government line departments. In this year&rsquos plan contact details of more key stake holders and more GPS coordinates of rescue shelters as well as air dropping points have been provided compared to the last years plan.
We hope that this plan will be more effectively used by all stake holders in the event of a natural calamity striking this district.
SANJAY BANSAL, IAS