Parliamentary panel questions efficacy of satellites during disasters

Last Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 22:44

New Delhi: Citing the experience of the Uttarakhand calamity, a Parliamentary Committee has questioned the efficacy of the country`s satellite communication in disaster management, saying the efforts of the Department of Space remain "far from adequate".

The Public Accounts Committee said it noted "many significant deficiencies and fundamental weaknesses that resulted in the under-utilisation of remote sensing satellites and their applications."

This had stalled timely achievement of important national development goals with vital social objectives like food security, conversion of wastelands into usable land, water security through drinking water missions and environment security through disaster management support programmes, the committee said.

Referring to the role of satellite communication in disaster management, it noted with "concern" that the "effectiveness and actual emergency preparedness remains questionable" in view of the deficiencies brought out by CAG in a report on `Disaster Preparedness in India` as also the 2013 natural calamity in Uttarakhand.

The committee, in a report tabled in Parliament today, said this was despite the Department of Space (DoS) stating that the Disaster Management Support (DMS) Programme has the required satellite communication bandwidth and the emergency communication during disaster continued unhindered using INSAT type-D satellite phones operational through INSAT-MSS transponder.

"The efforts initiated by DoS are apparently far from adequate given the stupendous task before the Disaster Management Support Programme," it said.

The committee recommended that DoS review the programme after a comprehensive evaluation in light of its ineffectiveness to cope with the recent disasters that occurred in the country and devise appropriate remedial measures to ensure achievement of the targeted objectives within a stipulated time-frame.


First Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 22:44

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