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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Teams to tackle disasters

Siliguri, Feb. 24: The state disaster management department has decided to form Quick Response Teams for Siliguri and Darjeeling along with other districts of the state to tackle fire, accidents and natural calamities.

The teams will have volunteers with experience in handling such situations.

Amit Choudhury, a joint secretary of the department, said: “We have decided to form separate QRTs for the plains and hills. These would be dedicated teams posted in Siliguri and Darjeeling. The volunteers would be paid remuneration against their services and will be equipped with machinery and vehicle required in emergencies like accidents or earthquakes. Our attempt is to keep the teams prepared so that they can reach the spot at the earliest.”

“In districts located on the banks of the Ganges and other rivers, we plan to form similar teams which would comprise experienced deep water divers to mitigate casualties during incidents of drowning. The volunteers would be under 35 years,” he added.

The department, in association with the district disaster management cells of Darjeeling and Cooch Behar, held a two-day training programme on school disaster safety for schoolteachers, NGO representatives and block officials.

“The workshop was organised under the National School Safety Project. The idea is to draft school disaster management plans so that students can be safely evacuated in case there is an emergency,” Chaudhuri said.

He added that the state government was planning to introduce disaster management as a compulsory additional subject in secondary course. “It is necessary for children to have a clear concept of disaster management and their duty in case such emergencies occur.”