NSS     Avhan : Chancellors' Brigade: NSS Wing : Training Camp on Disaster Preparedness

Address by Hon'ble Chancellor Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao

Shri Ch. Vidyasagar Rao
Hon’ble Chancellor, SNDTWU
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharshtra at the inauguration of Training Programme on Disaster Preparedness ‘Avhan’ hosted by SNDT Women’s University at Birla Matoshree Sabhagriha, Near Bombay Hospital, New Marine Lines, Mumbai at 4 pm on 25th May 2015
Shri Vinod Tawde, Hon’ble Minister for Higher & Technical Education, Prof Vasudha Kamat,
Vice Chancellor of the SNDT Women’s University, Vice Chancellors of other Universities in the State,
Dr Vandana Chakravarty, Pro Vice Chancellor,
members of faculty, all NSS volunteers coming from different parts of the State, Programme officers, students, staff, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon and greetings to all of you.

I am indeed very happy to see so many NSS volunteers and Programme Officers representing various districts of Maharashtra. I have come here to wish you well as you embark on your training programme on Disaster Preparedness. I congratulate each one of you for being selected to be a part of ‘Avhan’: The Chancellor’s Brigade.

This is a year of historic significance for the SNDT Women’s University. The University founded by Maharshi Karve has entered into its Centenary Year. During the last 100 years of its meaningful existence, the University has played a significant role in empowering women through education. I am very happy that the University is hosting this year’s Training Programme on Disaster Preparedness.

‘Avhan’ is fourth in the series of events initiated by the Chancellor’s Office. I am happy that like the three other events, namely the Inter University Sports Festival, the Youth Festival and the Research Festival, this event on Disaster Preparedness has proved to be an excellent initiative.

During the last 9 years since its inception in 2007, thousands of youths, particularly, NCC cadets and NSS volunteers have been trained in the task of disaster preparedness. There have been occasions when members of the Chancellor’s Brigade were called upon to assist the administration during relief and rehabilitation and I am happy to note that the volunteers have risen to the occasion.

I am very happy that more than one thousand NSS volunteers will be added to the Chancellor’s Brigade at the end of this training programme. I am also happy to note that your training will be imparted by the National Disaster Response Force, which is the premier national agency for responding to all types of disasters. I am confident that the training provided by the experts of the NDRF will help the selected volunteers to understand the basics of Disaster Preparedness and enable them to play a constructive role during emergency situations.


There has been in recent times, a greater frequency of disasters, with severe fallouts. The devastating earthquake in Nepal and parts of Northern India has shown the vulnerability of mankind to the forces of nature.

In September last year, the Jammu & Kashmir region witnessed disastrous floods caused by heavy rainfall. Apart from loss of lives and livelihood, many villages were completely submerged. We had witnessed even more devastating floods in Uttarakhand a year before.

In Maharashtra too, we have been witnessing severe weather patterns. One entire village, Malin, near Pune disappeared from the map after a huge landslide last year. Unseasonal rains and hailstorms caused large scale damage to crops in Maharashtra.

Apart from natural disasters, we have also been witnessing a growing number of man-made disasters, most of which are entirely avoidable.

As one of the most populous and rapidly urbanizing countries in the world, India is vulnerable to many disasters. Large cities like Mumbai have many densely populated areas where threat to lives and property is even higher in the event of disasters. We will have to work out separate strategies to tackle any eventuality taking place in these areas.

This year, Nashik and Trimbakeshwar will be hosting the Sinhasth Kumbh Mela. Millions of people are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela. There have been incidents of stampede in the past at the Kumbh Mela, and all agencies will have to work out strategies to prevent such disasters. I will be happy if some of you could use the training imparted here for creating awareness among general public about avoiding such eventualities. I would urge upon the NSS officers here to work closely with the district administration in this regard.

Famous German philosopher Goethe had said, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply; willing is not enough, we must do.”

Even though disasters cannot be predicted, we can certainly limit the damage caused by the disasters. There are two main aspects: institutional preparedness and community preparedness.

Every organization and housing society should have a functioning disaster management system in place. There should be a regulator to monitor and certify the readiness of an institution to tackle disaster. There is also a need to review and update the disaster management system and provide refresher training to its members.

The second but more important area is community preparedness to tackle and manage disasters. Community is the first responder in any disaster situation. Creating awareness through disaster management education and training are necessary steps for enabling the community to cope with disasters in a better manner. Disaster – responsive public behavior is something that must be inculcated among the people. In fact this training programme, Avhan, was devised to bridge this glaring gap in the relief and rehabilitation effort.

I want every NSS volunteer trained here to spread awareness in schools and colleges. The services of the 8000 plus volunteers already trained must be utilized when required. I will call upon the NSS coordinators to evolve a mechanism to keep the trained volunteers updated by organizing refresher programmes.

I have a word for the District Administration and the Vice Chancellors. The responsibility for making the best use of the trained volunteers rests on them. They must coordinate and draft the volunteers in disaster management work whenever an exigency arises. I would request Shri Tawde - ji to issue instructions to the District Collectors to avail the services of these trained and motivated volunteers.

Once again, I congratulate the NSS volunteers and the Programme Officers as they begin their training and wish them success in their work.

I also convey my appreciation to the National Disaster Response Force and the SNDT Women’s University. I wish AVHAN-2015 and its entire team all success. Thank you.

Jai Hind !! Jai Maharashtra !!