Delhi may get its own disaster response force

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna said on Friday that a review meeting on the mock-disaster drill in the city had thrown up numerous suggestions, including setting up of a state disaster response force.

Going by the report submitted by army officers who monitored Wednesday's city-wide drill, Khanna said the response of Delhi Police Control Room (PCR) vans was appreciated most, followed by that of the fire department.

However, medical relief camps set up by the health department lacked basic provisions like water, medicines and other equipment. Shortage of instruments like lamps and hydraulic machines was also felt.

Khanna suggested that  State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) could be set up on the lines of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which is responsible for operations in the entire country.

“Delhi should have its own SDRF to deal with disaster. To start with, 900 men could be recruited, 100 each for the nine districts,” he said.

Khanna said they would be trained to deal with disasters, but hoped that “God never puts us in a situation to use them.'” 

He said, “They would go from door to door and carry out other activities to create awareness about disaster situations on a daily basis.” He suggested roping in men from Delhi Armed Police immediately for training since the recruitment process will take time.

The meeting decided to allot land for NDRF in the Capital so that the organisation could set up a base there. The  nearest NDRF unit now is in Ghaziabad.

“We will give them two plots in east and west Delhi to set up bases,” Khanna said. The meeting, attended by representatives from National Disaster Management Authority, Delhi Disaster Management Authority, army and  Delhi government also discussed developing ‘standard structural design’ for buildings, and giving government grant to retrofit weak structures.

Khanna said many buildings in the city were unsafe and therefore a consultancy wing should be opened with each of the three proposed municipalities. “The department would check robustness of buildings on the request of their owners and suggest ways to make them stronger.”


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