New Delhi. 28 June 2016. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted mock exercises at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps in Jammu and Kashmir from June 23, 2016 to June 28, 2016 to assess the preparedness and response mechanism of all the stakeholders involved in the management of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra.

The first mock exercise was conducted along the route from Baltal in Ganderbal district between June 23-25, 2106 and dealt with simulated scenarios involving a cloudburst and a fire. The second mock exercise was conducted along the camp sites on the Chandanwari route from June 26-28, 2016 and covered both natural as well as man-made disasters.

Two batches of NDMA experts, led by Major General V.K. Datta (Retd.) and B.B. Gadnayak, trained the participants on key aspects of Disaster Management such as the formation of Incident Response Teams, coordination among various participating agencies, evacuation, medical preparedness and trauma counselling. This exercise aims at enhancing the preparedness of officials of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), District Administration and other key government agencies to deal with any disaster during the Yatra, said Maj. Gen. V.K. Datta.

Both the mock exercises began with a Coordination Conference on Day 1 followed by a Table-top Exercise on Day 2. Senior officials from all the important Departments such as the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Rashtriya Rifles, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Army, Police, Health, Civil Defence, Transport, Fire and other Emergency Services attended these preparatory meetings and participated in the mock exercises.

After the drills, post-exercise analysis were carried out by the NDMA experts in which they discussed the entire operation and underlined areas that needed improvement. “Better coordination among various agencies is of utmost importance and often the key to a successful post-disaster response,” said Gadnayak. The annual Amarnath Yatra to the cave shrine in south Kashmir will begin from July 2, 2016.

The NDMA regularly conducts such mock exercises throughout the country in its efforts to improve preparedness and response mechanisms for various disasters. NDMA conducted a mock exercise on flood preparedness at Ambala in Haryana and a State-level mock exercise on earthquake preparedness in Tripura earlier this month.