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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday, January 7, pulled up the state government in its failure to set up the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from the past 13 years even though a number of directions were issued by the court in this regard since July 2019.
According to The Hindu, the court also directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit on complying with the court's directions on effective implementation of Section 48 and 78 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Section 48 necessitates the state government to set up a disaster response as well as a disaster mitigation funds, both at the state and district levels. Section 78 refers to the exercise of rule-making power.
The court stated that the absence of a disaster fund especially during COVID-19, a 'notified disaster', meant that the state was not able to comply with the crucial provisions of the Act amid the rising cases.
The bench noted that the government had failed in setting up the district disaster-response fund and had allocated just ₹10 lakh for district disaster mitigation fund (DMF) in November 2019.
Though the government said that it has earmarked around ₹200 crores towards the State Disaster Mitigation Fund (SDMF), and over ₹33,000 each for every district under the District DMF, the court said that the creation of the funds was only on paper.
"As response funds have not been established, obviously, there is no compliance. Now, the stand of the government is that only ₹33,333 each has been transferred to the account of the mitigation fund, that too in November 2019. This shows the funds have been created only on paper," the bench observed, reported The Times of India.
The publication also mentioned that the next hearing on the two PILS seeking implementation of the Act is scheduled on January 27.
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