Special force needed to tackle rain-related disaster

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is yet to open a permanent unit in the district sanctioned by the Union government way back in 2009.

The district administration has got no confirmation message on the unit from top officers of the force, though technical support has been arranged for the initiative. An NDRF unit will go a long way in alleviating the safety concerns of people, especially those settled in the hilly areas of the district, during the monsoon.

Following a request from the force, the district administration earlier identified a spot in the Urban Wholesale Market Complex, Vengeri, and offered it for the operations of the regional camp office. Accommodation has been offered for the personnel of unit when its starts full-fledged operations. The officers who were convinced of the facilities during field inspections later maintained silence on the plan and did not give any positive response to the district administration on the proposal.

“We had been asked to arrange camping facility for at least 40 personnel to begin the project, but there were no follow-up action on their part,” Additional District Magistrate K.P. Ramadevi said. Arrangements have been made to accommodate their rescue boats at Beypore.

People’s representatives from rural areas of Kozhikode have expressed anxiety over the delay in realising the much-hyped proposal. Several Union Ministers had spoken about measures to speed up the project but it lost steam for unknown reasons.

“Our people mainly depend on the service of Fire and Rescue Services and the police during crises. Unfortunately, most of these rescue service providers do not have even basic equipment for their field work,” K.K. Lathika, Kuttiyadi MLA, said. She recalled occasions when local administrators had to take help from private service providers to save marooned people.

K. Moyinkutty, Thiruvambadi MLA, said often, the support of the local people was crucial for the rescue of families hit by monsoon-related calamities. “It will be better to bind such likeminded people together for the cause rather than maintaining, or waiting for the help of, a separate force which will only help to squander government funds,” he said.

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