The district is yet to get a permanent unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), despite the Centre sanctioning it way back in 2009.
An NDRF unit will go a long way in alleviating the safety concerns of the people, especially those settled in the hilly areas of the district, during the monsoon.
The district administration said it had got no confirmation on the unit from top officers of the force, though technical support had been arranged for the initiative.
Following a request from the force, the district administration earlier identified a spot in the Urban Wholesale Market Complex, Vengeri, for the operations of the regional camp office. Arrangements of accommodation were made for the personnel of unit when it would start its full-fledged operations.
The officers then conducted field inspections and also seemed convinced of the facilities. But after this, they 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 were also made to accommodate their rescue boats at Beypore.
People’s representatives from rural areas of Kozhikode 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 reasons unknown.
“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 the 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.