Prof Talat flags challenges, calls for regular monitoring of vulnerable areas
Srinagar, Dec 2: Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir Prof Talat Ahmad Wednesday called for mainstreaming disaster management into academia and development policy to put in place a robust disaster response system on the ground.
Addressing as chief guest the inaugural session of a day-long webinar “Mainstreaming Disaster Management in Higher Educational Institutions”, Prof Talat said the Himalayan region is prone to disasters and this calls for a serious integrated approach to disaster management.
Asserting that world leaders cannot afford to be in denial over impending dangers posed by climate change, he said it was important for academic institutions, especially in the Himalyan region and country’s other vulnerable areas, to come together and help in mainstreaming disaster management into curriculums.
The Vice-Chancellor called for a survey of all important buildings in J&K UT—hospitals, colleges, schools and government offices—to evaluate how safe these are to withstand disasters.
“There’s a need for a continuous monitoring system in disaster-prone areas, like important highways, for prior alerts in case of any disaster-related activity,” he said, adding that development in disaster-prone areas must be done away with alongside ensuring that people and policy-planners strictly adhere to building codes while undertaking constructions.
Prof Talat also called for establishing well-equipped communication centres in vulnerable areas for swift communication between various agencies in times of disasters.
The national-level webinar was organised by the varsity’s Department of Geography and Disaster Management (DGDM) and J&K’s Higher Education Department (HED).
In his keynote address, Commissioner-Secretary, HED Talat Pervez Rohella proposed a five-pronged strategy for disaster management, including developing core competencies of students and faculty in colleges, holding regular mock drills for an effective response system, devising mitigation strategies with proper planning, and creating space in all colleges to establish disaster response centers.
In her lead lecture, Prof Janki Andhari, Dean, Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies, TISS Mumbai, said disasters aren’t a result of a single event and therefore any event-centric approach to handle disasters is not advisable.
“To treat disasters as a one-off event is fundamentally problematic,” she said.
Prof Andhari said 85 per-cent of the country is vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones and landslides, even as more than 500 million people are affected by natural disasters annually.
Advocating a “shift” in understanding disaster management, she said community-based approaches, increasing awareness, use of appropriate technologies and indigenous methods could go a long way in mainstreaming disaster management.
KU Registrar Dr Nisar A Mir said hybrid disasters wreak havoc in terms of deaths, physical injuries, financial losses, damage to infrastructure, stress and trauma and this calls for an urgent and serious intervention by policy-planners, academic institutions, NGOs and citizens to devise effective disaster management policies and frameworks.
Prof Shamim A Shah, Head of KU’s DGDM, delineated objectives of the webinar, and stressed on creation of more faculty positions in disaster management in J&K’s higher educational institutions in line with the government’s commitment.
“We need to make society disaster-resilient by way of generating awareness and capacity-building of people at large,” he said.
Prof M Y Peerzada, Director Colleges, delivered a vote of thanks at the inaugural session, which was followed by a panel discussion by eminent academics and administrators, including Prof Shakil A Romshoo, Prof M Y Peerzada, Prof Shamim A Shah, Prof M Sultan Bhat, Prof Yasmeen Ashai, Prof Ravinder Kumar Tikoo, Prof Chandan Ghosh, Dr G M Dar and Er Aamir Ali.
Dr Mohammad Shafi conducted proceedings of the webinar.
Darakhshan Andrabi granted MoS status
Srinagar: J&K Waqf Board Chairperson Dr Darakhshan Andrabi has been granted the status of Minister of State (MoS) by the J&K Government.
Andrabi was last month appointed as a member of J&K Waqf Board and later elected chairperson.
“Sanction is hereby accorded to the grant of status equivalent to Minister of State (MoS) in favour of Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson, J&K Waqaf Board,” an order issued on Friday by the Principal Secretary, GAD, Manoj Dwivedi reads.
“The Hospitality & Protocol Department shall make necessary insertion in the J&K Warrant of Precedence with the approval of Competent Authority,” it added.
Andrabi recently facilitated a successful meeting between Kashmiri business leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Andrabi is a national executive member of Bhartiya Janta Party and BJP state spokesperson for J&K.
Kashmiri researcher to speak at UNGA Science Summit
Srinagar, Sept 21: Dr Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad, a Kashmir-born Innovation Researcher, has been invited to speak at UNGA76’s second Science Summit (United Nations General Assembly UNGA76).
The UNGA Science Summit’s goal is to “increase awareness of science’s significance and contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” It will showcase efforts that will serve as examples for global science systems and activities supporting the SDGs, notably in the areas of science infrastructure and capacity building.”
Dr Sheikh Fayaz, a Kupwara resident, has been asked to speak at a session on ‘South-South/North Science Capacity Building and Research Collaboration for Advancing the SDGs,’ which will take place on September 22, 2021.
UNGA76 is seen as a unique and prestigious forum for science and development scholars to demonstrate “how policy and political leadership can benefit from innovation”. The second edition of UNGA76, Science Summit, is organized by ISC around the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York in September 2021.
Dr Sheikh Fayaz is working as a full-time innovation researcher with the School of Management, Zhejiang University, one of the top public universities in China. He works on ‘secondary innovations’ and regional development. Sheikh Fayaz holds his M.Phil and PhD from the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-India.
Prior to joining Zhejiang University, Dr Fayaz was a Visiting Scholar at the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal, under European Commission’s Crossing Boundaries Project funded by Marie Curie Actions, International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (2014), School of Management, University of Bradford, England (Oct- Nov 2014) and University of Sussex, London and Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, England, (2017). He is also a member of the Globelics community and is an alumnus of various Globelics innovation academies held in Finland, Kenya and Brazil.
The other speakers for the science summit include some of the world’s leading development practitioners, researchers, scientists, and politicians from different parts of the world. Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, President, International Science Council, George Church from Harvard University Wyss Institute, Dr Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief, Nature, UK, Prof. Intisar Soghayroun Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sudan and Dr Marcia McNutt President, National Academy of Sciences, USA, joined the opening plenary session held on September 14, 2021.
Sufi poetry collection ‘Ganji Asrar’ released
Srinagar: A collection of Sufi poetry, ‘Ganji Asrar’, authored by Musadiq Alam, was released on Tuesday at a cultural event in Tagore Hall here.
The event was organised by Angel’s Cultural Academy in association with the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
The book is a poetry collection of the legendry Sufi poet, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Dar Shutloohi. Dar has served for more than 40 years at Darbari Kashani Shalimar.
‘Ganji Asrar’ has been published by Sultania Book Depot Maisuma and will be available at all leading book shops of J&K.
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