Kochi: Even as massive floods and landslides are visiting us yet again, it is coming to light that a proposal from the Central Government to construct disaster shelters in each district in the state, nearly a decade back, did not find any takers here resulting in plight of the rescued people.
"It was at the time when Mullappally Ramachandran was the Union Minister of State for Home with independent charge of disaster management that the proposal was mooted covering the whole country with a Central aid of Rs 2 crore for each district. Odisha which is prone to natural disasters was one state which efficiently implemented the scheme," said an expert who was in the knowledge of the developments.
"The other states which implemented the project included Gujarat and Maharashtra. The shelters were designed by architect G. Shankar and they were designed in such a fashion that during non-disaster days they could be used as anganwadis or primary schools or community centres. They had kitchens and enough toilets. But unfortunately political differences seemed to have come in the way of the implementation of the project when last LDF Government was ruling the state," said the expert who did not want to reveal name."At the time of disasters, women, children and elderly become the worst affected and having accessible good toilet facilities is an essential need for them. Flocking hundreds into schools converted as disaster shelters having hardly any such facilities, makes a mockery of our rescue operation.
The importance of constructing permanent relief centres with sufficient facilities at each district arises at this point. This is crucial since we have been warned that we need to expect floods and landslides and other natural disasters in the coming years due to climate change," said N. Ramachandran, an environmentalist at Aluva who was a victim of last year's floods....