Derek O’Brien speaks on the earthquake tragedy in Nepal and India | Full Transcript

Full Transcript

Deputy Speaker Sir,

Desmond Doig, the famous journalist who lived in Kolkata and spent most of his time in Kathmandu in Nepal – he died many years ago – remembered the country for the comforting vision of Nepal with its emerald fields and terracotta huts and purple rain. In the last two days what we saw was anything but comforting.

On behalf of everyone in the country, as well as West Bengal, where we had casualties, we convey our deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives.

Sir, for such a situation like this, our belief is that, the formula has to be PIC – Preparedness, Infrastructure and Communication. Since it is a different country, I should not comment on infrastructure. We should also prepare ourselves for facing disasters like these.

From an Indian point of view, our learning yesterday was, whether it was central government or the state government – governments of UP, Bengal and Bihar – the communication was very, very strong. Whether it was the Chief Minister of Bengal or the Prime Minister’s Office or other offices, communication went out well.

It is my duty to inform this House what happened in Bengal in terms of rescue. The disaster management teams were monitoring the situation. Everyone forgot about the local municipal elections. The administration was very focussed on the rescue efforts.

Disaster management meetings were chaired by the Chief Minister and the teams went out that evening. Everyone was very concerned. 15 mountaineers from Bengal came back safely.

Yesterday the Chief Minister of Bengal was in north Bengal, monitoring the situation. She had the opportunity to meet the families of those who had lost their lives.

The communication efforts, the disaster management efforts, specially up in north Bengal – Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling – were very well handled. In these situations, we always look up to the Army, Navy and the Air Force. They must also be congratulated.

I want to end with a suggestion, Sir. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was dissolved. Not that having an NDMA would have solved the earthquake problem, but out of a board of 12 odd members, only three members have been appointed so far. My humble suggestion to the government is not to keep those seats vacant.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of Nepal and the people of the States which are affected.

Bengal to get 10 more women police stations

10 more women police stations are coming up in West Bengal besides the existing 20.

The West Bengal Chief Minister had targeted to set up 65 such police stations across the State.  The government has approved the establishment of 330 posts under various categories for the new police stations. A woman police officer will head each of these police stations and majority of the other ranks will constitute of women also.

In the first phase 20 women police stations were set up at Howrah, Barasat, Baruipur, Asansol, Jhargram, Contai, Chinsurah, Krishnanagar, Siliguri and Jalpaiguri Sadar, sub-divisional headquarters of Burdwan Sadar, Medinipur Sadar, Purulia Sadar, Bankura Sadar, Darjeeling Sadar, Sreerampore (Hooghly), Suri (Birbhum), English Bazar (Malda), Diamond Harbour (South 24-Parganas) and Barrackpore (North 24-Parganas) have got such stations. Now, 10 new stations have opened at Bidhannagar and Durgapur Commissionerate, Cooch Behar, Balurghat, Raiganj, Berhampore, Kharagpur, Haldia, Uluberia and Arambag.  With these new stations the total number of all women police stations has reached to 30.

WB CM Ms Mamata Banerjee has been working relentlessly for the safety of women across the State. It was her idea to have all women police stations in the state to combat women related crimes. In a police station where women will not only feel free and safe to report criminal cases against them, but where such cases will also be dealt with immense sensitivity and compassion.

In another innovative step, the West Bengal Government is launching a special police cell to deal with highway accidents. This cell will be known as ‘Highway Traffic Police’. Along with investigating accident cases on highways, they will also take prompt action so that accident victims get immediate medical attention and effective rescue missions.