NEW DELHI — A plea, highlighting plight of farmers whose crops have been hit by calamities and extreme weather conditions, has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to formulate a national plan for disaster management.
The interim application, which is scheduled for hearing on May 8, has been filed in a pending PIL on the issues arising out of massive tragedy that had hit Uttarakhand in 2013 and subsequent 'inadequate' relief to the affected citizens.
Since the last two decades the country has faced a lot of agricultural disasters. However, till date, no concrete plan has been put in place by the Centre to facilitate effective steps for rehabilitation of affected farmers, the plea filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal said.
"Agricultural activity is adversely affected by any unforeseen weather changes or variations in physical conditions. This gets accentuated in case of cyclones, floods and droughts resulting in disruption of people's livelihood and adding to risk, damage and stress of disasters," it said.
Referring to provisions of the Disaster Management Act, it said that they cast a duty on the Centre to draw a national plan for disaster management and to provide minimum standards of relief to those affected by the disaster.
Quoting a CAG report on the implementation of the Disaster Management Act, the plea said, "Even after expiry of nine years of the Disaster Management Act, the Union of India has not formulated the National Plan for Disaster Management."
"It is need of the hour that the Union of India must formulate a concrete plan for mitigation of agriculture disaster as well as for the relief and rehabilitation of the farmers of the world's largest democracy," it said.
The apex court had earlier issued notices to Uttarakhand and six other states on the PIL that had alleged that they failed in implementing Disaster Management Act in order to handle natural catastrophe.
The six other states issued notice are Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat.
Referring to the natural calamity in Uttarakhand, Bansal had alleged that casualties would have been less had the state government implemented the Act.