Approval of Union Home Ministry sought to set up force

The State government is awaiting the nod of the Union Home Ministry for setting up a dedicated State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to ensure specialised response to natural and man-made disasters and to fine tune its disaster management capabilities.

“We have availed ourselves of the service of a Bangalore-based battalion of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Sabarimala before. Now, we have sought the approval of the Union Home Ministry to form a similar force in the State modelled along the lines of the NDRF,” Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told The Hindu on Friday.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005, has laid down statutory provisions for the constitution of the SDRF in every State along the lines of the NDRF.

To begin with, three SDRF units will be based in southern, central, and northern regions of the State. “More such units will be formed in the second phase of the project,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said. The State government has sought Rs.5 crore for setting up SDRF units and Rs.15 crore towards operation cost for three units for a period of five years.

The SDRF will be launched initially by drawing 50 trained disaster management personnel mainly from the State police and fire and rescue services.

While the State police have already started the work for setting up the force, the other wing is completely in the dark.

“Personnel from the force will be given special training in rescue operations. We have initiated the process in selecting the personnel and start training,” said Jacob Punnoose, State Police Chief. The fire and rescue services department, however, is unaware of any such proposal as yet. “We have been told that the force will be drawn only from the police. If at all personnel from the fire and rescue services have to be incorporated to SDRF, the State government should issue an official communication.

“No such action has been made so far,” S. Pulikesi, Director General of Police and Commandant General, Fire and Rescue Services said.

The Minister clarified that coordination with State-level departments will begin only after the Centre gave its nod to the proposal for forming the SDRF.

The mission of the SDRF will be to build a safer State by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster, and technology-driven strategy for disaster response.

  • To be modelled on the lines of NDRF

  • Three SDRF units to be deployed initially