Steps to ensure safety of plantation workers

KSDMA issues guidelines for safety of people in locales prone to natural calamities

With the southwest monsoon at the doorstep, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has outlined a number of measures for ensuring the safety of plantation workers living in high range locales prone to natural calamities such as landslides.

The safety measures have been newly added to the ‘Orange Book of Disaster Management 2: Monsoon Preparedness and Response Guidelines’ updated by the authority ahead of the onset of the rainy season. The District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) and the Labour Department are responsible for their implementation, say the guidelines.

Landslips

Devastating landslips, triggered by heavy rainfall, had ravaged the State’s high ranges in recent southwest monsoon seasons, notably at Puthumala in Wayanad and Kavalappara in Malappuram in August 2019 and Pettimudi in Idukki district in August 2020. The casualties included scores of plantation workers and their kin. The updated Orange Book guidelines require DDMAs to identify communities living in isolated locations in the plantations and ensure that they have connectivity and access to power supply. DDMAs and the Labour Department should ensure that maps of the residential locations of plantation workers and, wherever needed, evacuation plans, are ready.

The ‘vulnerability’ mapping of such locations and evacuation plans for families deemed vulnerable to natural calamities should be completed. The ‘fitness’ of the ‘layams’ (labour lines) in the plantations should be assessed with the help of the engineers of the local bodies. Buildings should be identified for opening relief camps close to isolated ‘layams,’ read the guidelines.

DDMAs are also required to stock medicines and equipment that would come in handy during rescue operations such as excavators, electric cutters, ropes and emergency lighting systems. The 2021 edition of the Monsoon Preparedness and Response Guidelines’ also feature measures for streamlining rescue/relief operations involving helicopters.

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