As the possibility of water-induced disasters like floods and landslides loom with nearing monsoon, stakeholders have called for policies and regulations to implement the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act-2017.
At an event organised in the Capital on Sunday to discuss the recently endorsed Act, political party leaders, disaster experts, academicians and civil society members have pressed for its effective implementation through drafting other bylaws on time.
Applauding the Act, which was endorsed by the Legislature Parliament on September 25 last year, the ex-member of Parliament and former education minister Gangalal Tuladhar said, “Passing of this act is the landmark development in dealing with the disaster, minimising the damage and its aftermath situation. Effective implementation of this Act can save thousands of lives being lost in natural disasters.”
The Act has replaced the Natural Calamity Act-1982. It has been widely appreciated for incorporating several issues significant to mitigating disaster risk and its
Ranjan Kumar Dahal, an engineering geologist and an associate professor at the Central Department of Geology in Tribhuvan University, has noted the Act as an exemplary work of political leaders which can directly benefit a large population with its progressive provisions for disaster management.
“Several provisions regarding penalty and punishment, minimum criteria for relief, well-defined rights and responsibilities at all three levels of government make it a significant document for disaster management,” said Dahal, calling for urgent
need of drafting the required policies.
Stakeholders have hailed the Act for moving ahead from the traditional approach of dealing with disaster events—which would focus more on post-disaster rescue and relief—to accord top priority to preparedness, response, rehabilitation and reconstruction. “Previous laws on disaster used to be more concerned about the post-disaster situations, whereas this law looks comparatively comprehensive. It still might have some weaknesses which can be improved in the coming days. But its implementation depends largely upon the attitude of our stakeholders, bureaucrats in particular,” said Dr Jiba Raj Pokharel, vice-chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology.
The Act also covers epidemics, famine, influenza, forest fires, pandemic flu, snake bite, animal terror, mine accidents, industrial accidents, arson, toxic gas, chemical or radiation leakage, gas explosion, environmental pollution and deforestation.
Kedar Neupane, chief of the Disaster Management Division under the Home Ministry, said with the Act in hand “it is time that we moved ahead with its dissemination at all levels and implementation.”
“We have brought the Act. Now, we should move ahead by nurturing it. Along with its effective implementation, its dissemination by forming different groups of stakeholders is equally important,” said Neupane, adding that the government had already started work on formulating new policies and regulations needed for its execution.