From January, schoolchildren across the state will get training every Saturday about calamities and disaster mitigation.
The new initiative has been christened “Safe Saturday” and it will be a part of the Mukhyamantri School Suraksha Karyakram that focuses on school safety. Bihar has already introduced disaster management as a subject in Class VII and VIII.
Under Safe Saturday, students will learn about disasters and also identify disaster risks around them, which the state government will address with the help of the education department.
The Safe Saturday decision was taken at the 11th review meeting of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar here at his secretariat on Thursday.
The works done so far under the Bihar Disaster Risk Reduction Roadmap 2015-30 were also reviewed. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, several ministers, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and other officials were present at the meeting.
The disaster risk reduction roadmap has fixed four targets to be achieved during the 15-year period, which include cutting down the loss of human lives in natural disasters by 75 per cent, substantial decrease in transportation-related disasters, 50 per cent reduction in the number of disaster-affected people and an equal reduction in financial losses due to disasters.
“We will introduce booklets on how to tackle disasters in the schools, and teachers will be trained by our master trainers about what to teach during Safe Saturday classes,” said BSDMA vice-chairman Vyasji. “They would be able to conduct mock drills too.
“The concept,” he added, “is to make children aware about the risk of disasters like traffic hazards, drowning, cold wave, heat wave, earthquakes and fire they face while going to school or coming back and during their school time. They will also identify the problems or issues, which will be rectified by the education department.”
Nitish directed the BSDMA officials to provide disaster-related literature in easy Hindi to the people to increase their awareness about the risks.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) joint secretary (policy and planning), V. Thiruppugazh was also present at the meeting. He requested the state government to jointly organise a two-day workshop with the NDMA to study the challenges in implementing the disaster risk reduction roadmap and share the best practices with other states.