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More teams to counter calamities

Two permanent teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would be deployed in Patna and Gopalganj to provide immediate relief to victims of natural calamity.

Director-general of NDRF and civil defence P.M. Nair announced the proposal at Bihta, the headquarters of the force’s 9th battalion, on Monday.

Nair, a 1978-batch IPS of Bihar cadre, is on his maiden tour to the state after assuming charge of the disaster response force. He would discuss the matter of deploying the two teams with senior officers of the state government at a meeting on Friday evening. “I have shown my interest in the deployment of NDRF teams in Patna and Gopalganj to deal with any eventuality,” he said.

He also inspected an exhibition of equipment used for relief and rescue at the Bihta headquarters. Nair, who assumed his charge in August this year, would leave on Tuesday.

The NDRF chief said he had felt the requirement of a team in the state capital because Patna is considered prone to earthquakes. “The risk is more, as several high-rise buildings are coming up in different localities of the capital,” he added.

A meeting would be convened in Bangalore next week to discuss the measures that should be taken to provide relief to people living in buildings higher than 45m. “At present, we don’t have facilities to provide relief to such people.”

The force at Bihta, around 35km southwest of Patna, has a sanctioned strength of 1,500 officers. Nair said: “It is a matter of pride for me that the headquarters of one of the 10 battalions of the NDRF is in Bihar.” He added that although the teams reach a disaster site within 30 minutes, the force was trying to reduce the response time further.

Nair cited the proximity of Gopalganj district to the Uttar Pradesh border as the reason for deploying the NDRF team there. Twenty-seven districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh also come under the jurisdiction of the 9th battalion of the force.