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Millennium Post

Rudderless again

Where is the NDMA? This question is as persistent as the clamour to save people from the deluge that continues to wreak havoc in Jammu and Kashmir early this month is.  The agency conspicuous by its presence hasn’t really cut a sorry figure. 

The reason: there is nobody to answer the determined questions that are being posed by journalists; the agency has apparently been headless since 17 June, when the Vice President M. Shashidhar Reddy along with five other members decided to resign, calling themselves as political appointees. Another interesting point arising here is that the Prime minister who heads the agency has very evidently not brought the issue of the agency’s absence anywhere, not even when he visited flood ravaged J&K.

Although his letter for donations to the PM’s national relief fund was moving, he, it seems has forgotten that the agency was nowhere to be seen, when the defence forces along with NDRF were scampering to save as many people as they could. NDMA which came into being on 27 September, 2006 through an act of Parliament is technically the nodal agency to carry out disaster management whenever a natural or a man-made catastrophe hits India.

Another important question that needs to be answered is that when the National Disaster Relief Force, which operates under the Ministry of Defence, could galvanise itself into the relief operations, how could the NDMA and more importantly its resigned leadership not feel ashamed enough to join the relief work? Why doesn’t the BJP government answer where the NDMA has been all this while? While it is easy to blame the state government for its unpreparedness, the central government should also accept that the agency is nothing more than a highly ineffective drain for taxpayers’ hard-earned money, an agency which is fit to be called a ‘sick unit’ in India’s official parlance.      
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