Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that a process to scale up the capacity of the Fire and Rescue Services in keeping with its rising profile as the primary force for disaster response in the State will be set in motion shortly.
He was talking to The Hindu on Saturday in the wake of the landslip at Paingottur panchayat near Kothamangalam that claimed several lives and left behind a trail of destruction.
Mr. Radhakrishnan admitted that the department’s performance was weighed down at present by many shortcomings, including staff shortage.
“The department has a staff pattern set 20-25 years ago when it had only a limited mandate. That has undergone a sea change and the workload has increased manifold over the years. People now look up to the department as the principal response force in the event of a disaster,” he said.
The Minister said more posts would be created in the department and placed before the Cabinet for approval.
Mr. Radhakrishnan admitted that lack of fire-fighting and rescue equipment also plagued the functioning of the department. He said a marked improvement in this area was possible only with the support of the National Disaster Management Authority.
It was during his tenure as Revenue Minister that the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management had submitted a detailed proposal for disaster reduction in the State that called for assistance in excess of Rs.1,000 crore. Mr. Radhakrishnan, however, was not sure about the present status of the proposal.