Even as Mumbai is reeling under various disastrous incidents that have taken place in the recent past, Mumbai University’s proposed course on Disaster Management remains on paper. While Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is reminding the university to start the course, realising the need for awareness, the latter is clueless about what they plan to do regarding it.
It has been almost four years since a PG Diploma course had been proposed in disaster management, in association with BMC. But, it has yet not been finalised. A couple of months ago, BMC had again written to the university regarding initiation on the course work.
Speaking on the matter, Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer, disaster management at the BMC, said, "Disaster management still remains an unknown concept to many. People need to know what is required to be done in the time of disaster. If more people know about it, the crowd, and the people at large, will be aware of how to handle or be safe in disastrous situations. Mumbai University being a public university can offer the course to maximum number of people."
When asked if BMC is pressing on this need because the disaster management department is facing dearth of qualified professionals to handle increasing disastrous situations, Narvekar denied it, and said, "This is absolutely not true. We have enough qualified professionals as there are other institutions conducting this course. We are requesting Mumbai University to start the course because it is a public university in our city, which can take this course to a huge population. There is a major need for awareness among people."
Sanjay Wairal, senior Senate member at the Mumbai University, told mid-day, "The university planned the course with much zeal, but since there has been no initiation on preparing course structure as well. But interestingly, there is a budgetary allocation for this course, which remains static as nothing is being used."
Adding to this, another Senate member, Pradeep Sawant, said, "The university has to realise the importance of a course like this, especially when we are going through so many disastrous situations. With increasing population, the need of more people knowing about disaster management is very important. BMC has been requesting university for it for some time now."
When contacted, registrar of Mumbai University, Dr. M A Khan, said, "It must be a decision taken by the then Vice Chancellor or the Director of the Board of Colleges and University Development. We are not aware of it. But, if BMC writes to the varsity on it, we would definitely be very interested in starting such an important course." However, when probed further about the delay, he said, "Since these talks were happening during the tenure of previous authorities, there is no clear picture on it currently. We will review the status."