The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Disaster-control tips for J&K cops

A police team from Jammu and Kashmir arrived in the city on Saturday for a six-hour programme of training-cum-exchange of tips with the specialised disaster management group (DMG) of Calcutta Police.

Joint commissioner, armed police, Raj Kanojia, said on Sunday that Calcutta Police’s crack squad demonstrated its skills to the J&K police officers at the Police Training College (PTS) on Saturday.

Policemen trained in commando operations, equipped with scuba-diving gear and high-powered torches to trace objects deep down under the sea, gave demonstrations of underwater action. They also demonstrated techniques on how to rescue people from heavily-mined buildings, fire and explosive-affected apartments as well as from under debris.

DMG commandos Arun Biswas, Surajit Mondol, Pratap Roy and K.L. Singha, in full scuba gear with oxygen supplied through a pipe from a sophisticated compressor machine fitted to the helmet, went down 30 feet in the Hooghly and 15 feet under the PTS pond to demonstrate their underwater skills.

The assistant commissioner of police, Karma Bhutia, who is in charge of the special unit, said the machine can supply oxygen for more than two hours at a stretch.

“The commandos need not carry an oxygen cylinder. It is heavy and can supply oxygen for half an hour only,’’ he added.

J&K police said the training will help them fight militancy.

City police chief Sujay Chakraborty said the DMG was inducted from two platoons of the Rapid Action Force (RAF). A platoon consists of 35 policemen.

Chakraborty claimed that the American Center attack will not be repeated. “The DMG boys are trained to take on these terrorists and shoot them in an encounter,’’ he said.

The police commissioner directed his joint commissioner, armed police, Raj Kanojia, to choose a batch of “superbly-fit and dedicated men to be trained for extra-ordinary situations.’’

“We selected 70 boys from the RAF and sent them to various institutes, like the Indian Life Saving Institute and the Himalayan Training Institute for advanced training in mountaineering and deep-sea diving,’’ Kanojia said.

But the DMG needs more equipment, like the scuba gear, high-speed mechanised boats and weapons.

“There is some problem with funds. But we are still looking into it,’’ Kanojia said. Bhutia said one of their trained commandos, Haroon-ul-Rashid, is out of town to hone his skills.

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