NTPC blast impact: UP to fast track disaster management projects
32 people were killed in an explosion at NTPC’s coal-fired power plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district.india Updated: Nov 05, 2017 13:42 IST
Wednesday’s boiler blast at NTPC’s Unchahar plant, which claimed 32 lives, has brought the focus back on the disaster management projects in Uttar Pradesh.
While the state government had already approved the establishment of the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) in April and created 535 posts to be filled through deputation, it has now decided to expedite the work on it.
“The SDRF will ensure quick response, better coordination, speedy rescue and humane relief operation. The force will be equipped with latest gadgets,” said Arvind Kumar, principal secretary, home, while talking to HT on Saturday.
Admitting that the NTPC blast has necessitated the urgency to set up an exclusive disaster relief force for UP, an official said the state government was studying the report on rescue and relief operation during the NTPC blast submitted by the Rae Bareli district magistrate.
“Inputs from the report will be considered in chalking out a plan for better response and operation after such disasters,” he said.
The CISF team stationed at the thermal power station, district police, district health department and staff of the local fire service station was pressed into rescue operation at NTPC on Wednesday. Later, the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) contingents were rushed from various locations.
“For SDRF, the PAC has been made the nodal agency and assistance of central agencies is also being taken,” said an official.
A full-fledged office is set to come up on a 60 acre land in Lucknow’s Sarojini Nagar area.
“While the state government has allocated Rs 150 crore for the construction, around Rs 59 crore will be spent on equipment and Rs 5 crore on vehicles. Equipment and vehicles will be procured through e-tendering,” said Satish Ganesh, IG, PAC.
“The SDRF will also purchase satellite phones and fire proof jackets. Besides, it will be trained to handle chemical disasters as well,” said Ganesh.
Interestingly, the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) too is planning to establish a permanent station in Lucknow.
It has moved a proposal to the state government for allotment of land for an office building in the city.
“A 45-member NDRF team, equipped with latest equipment, will be deployed in the city to carry out rescue and relief work during natural calamities in Lucknow and neighbouring districts,” said a home department officer.
Till completion of its building, the NDRF office is likely to function from the Home Guard complex.
Already, the NDRF has stationed its 11th battalion in Varanasi.
Alternately, the state government is working on a long term disaster management plan, where in all the state government departments will coordinate with each other to ensure the best of management during disasters.
“The disaster management will be incorporated in development schemes as well as infrastructure development,” said a senior state government officer.
Health minister, Siddharth Nath Singh, meanwhile, has directed the health department to keep doctors and ambulances on alert during such disasters.
“The government-run hospitals have been directed to set up a separate wards for patients transported from calamity-hit areas,” he said.