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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Amit Shah asks NDRF to build central database of disaster-combat tools

Shah was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day annual conference organised by the NDRF on capacity-building of state disaster response forces (SDRFs).

india Updated: Jun 30, 2019 05:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Response to disasters has come a long way in India from the largely “piecemeal” management earlier, Shah said.
Response to disasters has come a long way in India from the largely “piecemeal” management earlier, Shah said.(HT Photo)
         

Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday asked the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to build a countrywide database of disaster-combat equipment and systems lying with the government, public sector undertakings and the private sector so that the information comes in handy when disaster strikes.

Shah was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day annual conference organised by the NDRF on capacity-building of state disaster response forces (SDRFs). The NDRF is a federal force and has 12 battalions based in various states for quick response to any emergency, man-made or natural.

Shah said the Centre was aware that disaster response required state-of-the-art equipment and training, which the “government will surely provide for, but there is no harm in using equipment and systems that are already available.” He said that as Gujarat home minister, he had done a similar mapping exercise of disaster-combat equipment down to the district level.

Response to disasters has come a long way in India from the largely “piecemeal” management earlier, Shah said.

“In a major cyclone in 1999, over 10,000 people died in Odisha. The same state reduced the number of casualties in this year’s Cyclone Fani to 67,” he said.

“It was in 2001, after the devastating earthquake in Gujarat, that the then chief minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the Gujarat Disaster Management Department. From there, work on disaster management in the country started in totality,” he said.

Praising the work of the NDRF and its agencies, Shah said efforts should be made to develop indigenous equipment to combat disasters in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“You must upgrade your capabilities to be counted as one of the best in the world, and neighbouring countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh should benefit from your expertise ,” he said.

Shah urged the NDRF to build expertise in tackling forest fires as “climate change” had made them more frequent. “You must develop the expertise to deal with them,” he said.

First Published: Jun 30, 2019 05:42 IST

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