Distribution of Training Module, Emergency Responder Kits for Aapka Mitra Volunteers held at Manan Bhawan

Gangtok, 24 July (IPR): A Distribution of Training Module & Emergency Responder Kits for Management For Aapka Mitra Volunteers was held at Mini Auditorium in Manan Bhawan.

The programme was graced by Hon’ble Minister of Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Law & Legislature & Parliamentary Affairs, HRDD & Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, along with State Relief Commissioner cum Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Smt Ambika Pradhan, Director, HRDD, Smt Hondala Gyaltsen, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion NCC Sikkim, Col. Rajeev Kumar, Additional Director, SSDMA, Shri G.C. Kharel, representatives of Sikkim Mountaineering Assiciation, DANS Energy Pvt. Ltd, National Cadets Corps,students, teachers, dignitaries and other Officials and staff of SSDMA, LR&DM and AAPDA Mitra volunteers.

Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha in his address congratulated all the 170 young and enthusiastic volunteers for getting themselves trained in Flood Management “AAPDA MITRA” from Shillong and appreciated their noble task of volunteering themselves for saving human lives.

He said that since Sikkim has various types of potential hazards that at times it may turn into disasters and one such disaster which is now active is with Climate Change activities that is making Glaciers melt at very high rate making glacial lakes increase in their size tremendously posing a threat of situation like Glacier Lake Outburst (GLOF).

Adding to it, he stated that Scientific Organizations have identified 11 such Vulnerable Glacial Lakes and that now the Government has framed multidisciplinary Committee to take up studies of such lakes in ground, access the situation, recommended for suitable mitigation measures to be taken up.

Further, he said that as for now South Lhonak Lake located at an altitude of more than 17000 ft has been studied and siphoning of water through 5 numbers of 8” diameter HDPE Pipes is done along with clearance of debris from the mouth of lake executed through SDC-UNDP programme where Mr Sonam Wangchuk (Rolex and Magsaysay Award Winner) from Ladhak was appointed.

Lastly, he shared some of his experiences pertaining to disaster (1997) and appealed all to curtail human activities which leads to man made disaster and reminded all the volunteers to work in co ordination and not to venture all alone.

Smt Ambika Pradhan in her speech welcomed all the dignitaries, guest and volunteers of AAPDA MITRA. She highlighted about GLOF, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood and talked about 1968 flood which was caused due to cloudburst in which the State was badly affected. She mentioned that at those times there were no such preparedness measures.

Times have changed and as of now our State Government has become more aware and committed in dealing with disaster management and informed that in 2005 “Disaster Management Act” was enacted which mandated in creating and establishing the State Disaster Management cell under the Land Revenue Department, she added.

She also said that since AAPDA MITRA training is mainly focused on rescuing and responding towards flood, it’s role, participation, responsibility of all the volunteers towards communities at the times of need is optimum.

She further enlightened all the volunteers about the different organisation, NGOs, VANS Energy Pvt. Ltd, National Cadets, students of schools and colleges who had a great role in 2018, South district Jorethang that saved eight lives.

Lastly, she urged all the volunteers to work responsibly, proactively in the communities to disseminate information and to train other people and stated that the State Department will endeavour to train all the communities, members from various walks of life and every citizen, every Sikkimese people especially who live along the disaster prone zone areas to be conscious, work together in the region with the purpose of strengthening resilience in the longer term.

Earlier, there was a pictorial presentation about “AAPDA MITRA” followed by experience sharing from the members of volunteers where Passang Sherpa, Prabha Tamang and Abhishek Chettri talked about their training period at Shillong.

It was informed that AAPDA MITRA aim is to train volunteers in disasters response and these trained volunteers are known as Apada Mitra. Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) has been executing National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India Scheme “APADA MITRA”on Flood Prepardness and the four Batches had been trained under it:

1st Batch: 45 Volunteers – Communities Volunteers, SMA, DANS Energy.

2nd Batch: 52 Volunteers – School Students, Communities Volunteers & Departmental Volunteers

3rd Batch: 27 Volunteers – Communities Volunteers & SMA

4th Batch: 46 Volunteers – NCC both girls and boys Cadets

Later, there was a distribution of Emergency Responder Kit to the volunteers by Minister in charge, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, who earlier took stock of the equipments.

The programme concluded with vote of thanks proposed by Under Secretary, SSDMA, Ms Navita Pradhan.

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