The Fire and Emergency Services is planning to set up a State Disaster Response Force on the lines of the National Disaster Response Force, according to P.S. Sandhu, Inspector-General of Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

In an informal chat with presspersons here on Monday, Mr. Sandhu said that according to the plan, the SDRF would have three mobile units of which one would be stationed in Mangalore. “It is because Mangalore is a sensitive area owing to the concentration of industries,” he said.

However, setting up of the State-level force would take some time as formalities had to be completed. Its personnel would have to be trained and equipment procured. A proposal to this effect would be sent to the Government shortly, he said.

Mr. Sandhu was here in connection with the inauguration of the new building of Kadri Fire Services at Kuntikana. He said that the number of fire service stations in the State would be increased from the present 156 to 206 in the next one-and-a-half years’ time. New fire stations would be opened at Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada and Padubidri and Malpe in Udupi district.

He said that the 200 candidates recruited for the department were undergoing training. Referring to high-rise buildings he said the department’s permission was required before constructing such buildings. Once those buildings were ready, the department officials would inspect them for issuing or rejecting clearance certificates. Once the clearance was given, the department had no power to inspect those buildings again. In such a situation, some builders were making some modifications in the building, without considering fire safety norms. Such incidents could be prevented if the department was empowered to conduct periodic inspection of high-rise buildings, he said.

Earlier, speaking at the inaugural function, Mr. Sandhu called upon the builders to adhere to national building code during construction.

H.S. Varadarajan, Chief Fire Officer, Mangalore Region, said that the new building had been built at a cost of Rs. 1.18 crore. N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, B. Nagaraja Shetty, chairman, Karnataka Coastal Development Authority, Gopal B. Hosur, Inspector General of Police (Western Range), V. Ponnuraj, Deputy Commissioner, and A.S. Rao, Superintendent of Police, Dakshina Kannada, were present.

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