They will come up in Uttarakhand and Assam

India is in process of establishing two more battalions of the National Disaster Response Force – world’s largest standalone disaster response force, said Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at Mundali, 30 km. from here on Sunday.

“Currently, we have 10 battalions stationed at different places. Now we are setting up two more battalions. Besides, keeping in mind vulnerability profile of different cities, NDRF units are being stationed at various locations to deal with emergencies,” Mr. Shinde said, addressing ninth Raising Day celebration of NDRF.

NDRF sources said the two battalions would come up in Uttarakhand and Assam. “NDRF is country’s unique force which has gained expertise in carrying out rescue operation in natural calamities like flood, earthquake, cyclone, landslides, building collapse, rail accident and all other disasters,” Home Minister said.

“The force is equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus and training to deal with natural and man-made disaster which has made it world’s largest force dedicated to disaster response. The demand of the force is increasing by days. I am happy that we have achieved our goal in such an effective manner,” he said.

Diversifying activities

The “NDRF has been regularly diversifying its activities.

During past few years, during Parliament sessions, NDRF personnel are deployed to deal with Chemical Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats. Besides, they are also deployed in large religious congregations like Kumbh Mela, Amarnath Yatra and Sabrimala,” Home Minister said.

Mr. Shinde concurred with the proposal of making provisions of ‘disaster response medal’ for personnel, who risk their lives during time disasters and other harsh conditions.

Addressing the Raising Day celebration, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said presence of NDRF battalion in the State is reassuring to the people of Odisha in particular and the eastern region in general.

“The role played by NDRF during last cyclone ‘Phailin’ of October 2013 and prompt response in pre-positioning in danger zones and in relief operations have been commendable,” Mr. Patnaik said.

The Chief Minister said NDRF should more closely associate itself in capacity building of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, abilities of which are being upgraded.

After two successive national calamities in quick succession such as Odisha Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001), need of a specialised response mechanism at national level was felt.

Enactment of Disaster Management Act 2005 paves way for constitution of NDRF as specialist force to deal with any disaster.

During last seven years, NDRF has been deployed on more than 190 occasions in various parts of the country wherein it has saved and rescued around 2,90,000 persons and retrieved over 900 untraceable bodies.

Vice-Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority M. S. Reddy and NDRF Director General Krishna Chaudhary also addressed the Raising Day celebration.