The premier rescue and relief agency, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), would soon acquire all-terrain vehicles which would enable the agency to better respond to landslides, floods or even CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear) disasters. During a presentation on disaster management at the recently-concluded Indian Science Congress, NDRF director General O P Singh said that the agency would be acquiring an ATV or two in the next six months. The ATVs are to be produced by Indian manufacturers. At the Science Congress, NDRF commandant of fifth battalion Alok Avasthy made a presentation on the NDRF rescue and relief work during recent disasters. Jammu and Kashmir had witnessed the worst deluge of the century in September last year. The disaster had claimed more than 280 lives and caused damage to property worth Rs 44,000 crore in the valley, said official statistics. Singh said that they were getting distress calls, of which they have counted almost 18,000, and also received text messages and emails. He said the NDRF responded to almost all the calls with the help of technology like Google person finder, so as to ensure the rescue of trapped people.Singh informed dna that two battalions would be added to the the existing NDRF battalions, taking the total strength to 15,000. It is likely that the two new battalions would be raised in the next two months. One battalion would be based in Uttar Pradesh while the other would be stationed in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Replying to a question, NDRF’s Singh made it clear that NDRF was the not the first force to reach any disaster location. He made it clear that during any disaster it is the local administration which is the first responder, and it is only after requisition that NDRF reaches the local areas within 20 minutes. If required, NDRF requisitions airplanes for reaching disaster-hit areas in far-flung regions.
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