Meeting with the Tamil Nadu State Government on Disaster Management
AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter held a meeting on 23rd May, 2017 at the office of the State Disaster Management Authority, Principal Commissioner for Revenue Administration, Government of Tamil Nadu.
A meeting was called by Dr. K. Satyagopal, Principal Commissioner for Revenue Administration, to discuss with American companies based in Chennai how CSR can be used to compliment the work being done by the government in water conservation. The Commissioner said that the state has witnessed a series of natural calamities in a short span of time – the great floods of December 2015, cyclones Thane and Vardah and the drought prevailing throughout the state. Select representatives of AMCHAM member companies participated in the meeting.
The Commissioner requested American companies to explore the possibilities of using CSR funds to desilt lakes, tanks, ponds and canals in the districts where the companies are located. Chennai is surrounded by Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts. The Commissioner added that companies could form a consortium of companies in a certain geographical area and collectively take up the work of desilting. He said that the government does not want to handle any cash contributions, so companies could provide the equipment and labour, while the PWD would do the supervision. All permissions and sanctions would be given though the office of the Commissioner for Disaster Management.
On specific issues near member facilities, the Commissioner assured that he would help with advising the district collector, highways department, TWAD, PWD etc. to examine the issues and take appropriate action. On the issue of interconnection of lakes surrounding the Ford plant in Maraimalainagar, the Commissioner has assured that he would intervene to sort out the bureaucratic logjam. Ford has agreed to spend US $75,000 on this project.
On issues raised by American Megatrends, Dow Chemicals and Cognizant, the Commissioner has requested for details and also solutions on how corporates could help in resolving the issues.
The Commissioner made a request for help in big data analytics. He said the government has a lot of data pertaining to disaster management and would like some analytic work done and also a software program to manage the data. He said that if this is done the government would take it on thereafter with support by corporates for a few months.
AMCHAM had requested the Commissioner to give a note on the cost for desilting waterbodies on a unit basis as well as the specific areas where it is feasible for work to be executed. AMCHAM has agreed to give a list containing the name and contact details of the first responder in each member company who may be contacted in the event of a calamity.