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#raigadtragedy: Did Ambenali ghat traffic jam delay rescue team’s response time?

The delay encountered by the NDRF team has yet again brought to light the issue of time efficiency of the NDRF teams.

pune Updated: Jul 29, 2018 17:48 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Raighad bus accident,NDRF team,traffic jam
The National disaster response force(NDRF) personnel help gather the remains of the mini-bus, which had fallen off the Ambenali ghat in Raighad district . (Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO )

As has happened in previous rescue missions, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was stuck in a traffic jam on way to the Ambenali Ghat on Saturday where it had rushed from Pune to assist local teams in the Raigad bus accident rescue mission.

As news of the luxury bus carrying 34 people falling into a deep gorge reached Pune, the NDRF platoon was immediately assembled to leave for the rescue mission along with the necessary equipment.

However, when contacted at 5.15 pm, the NDRF control room in Pune said that the platoon was 45 kilometres away from the location and was expected to reach the accident spot after another one-and-half hour.

Commander Jay Prakash from the NDRF Pune control room said, “At around 12. 30 pm we received an update about the fatal bus accident at the Ambenali Ghat. Effectively immediately we were asked to deploy a 37 member team under the Deputy Commandant P Bhairavnath. Our team left at around 1.15 pm from our centre at Sandubare, a village near Talegaon.”

However, the team was stuck in traffic jam in the ghat itself which caused a major delay in the rescue operation to begin, added Prakash.

The delay encountered by the NDRF team has yet again brought to light the issue of time efficiency of the NDRF teams.

A senior official from the NDRF team requesting anonymity said, “The problem of delay owing to the traffic jams has been persisting for very long.” The NDRF headquarters have raised this issue on a number of occasions with the union government, however, nothing has changed on the ground, the official said.

According to the experts, in crucial situations like these, reaching the disaster spot as soon as possible is of utmost importance.

“If the NDRF team is unable to reach the accident spot even after seven hours of the incident, then the entire intent of quick response is futile,” an expert said.

Previously, the NDRF teams had faced a similar kind of delay in a traffic jam when a landslide triggered by heavy rains had wiped out the Ambegaon village in Pune district in 2016.

During that disaster, the need for helicopter transport for the NDRF was raised to overcome delays caused by traffic jams on the roads leading to the disaster site. This aspect has, however, remained neglected even as the need has been felt once again in the current situation.

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 14:48 IST