PATNA: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has decided to develop its Ninth battalion, based in Bihta near here, as a "specialised unit" to tackle the water-related disasters like flood rescue across the country, NDRF Director General O P Singh said today.
"Every battalion of NDRF will be developed as a specialised unit in different fields. The Bihta based 9th battalion of will be developed as a Centre of Excellence to deal with floods in the country. NDRF's all 12 battalions will, however, continue to discharge their multi-disciplinary role," Singh said.
Singh, who was accompanied by 9th battalion Commandant Vijay Sinha, laid the foundation stone for construction of infrastructure facilities for NDRF in Bihta, 40 km from Patna.
The decision to develop Bihta NDRF as a specialised unit to deal with floods was taken keeping in mind Bihar and Jharkhand being flood prone states, he said.
The expertise of the specialised unit would be utilised across the country, Singh said, adding, "we have witnessed a new urban flood phenomenon as in Chennai and Kashmir."
Stating that NDRF's current response time was 20 minutes at times of emergency and disaster, Singh said "We want to cut down the response time and aim to respond in five to ten minutes of the disaster, so that more and more lives are saved."
A sub team (small) of six-seven NDRF personnel equipped with all modern equipment would be formed to deal with emergent situation, so that it can reach to save lives in time before the regular team follows, the DG said adding the decision of sub teams was being formed keeping in mind the traffic congestion that cause delay in reaching disaster sites.
Singh laid the foundation stone for construction of barracks for NDRF personnel, Subordinate Officers' mess, administrative building and dog kennel in first phase at an estimated cost of Rs 83 crore.
Construction work for the first phase of Bihta based 9th battalion of NDRF would be completed by August 14, 2017.
"This is the first time that the government has sanctioned Rs 883 crore for the development and construction of various buildings for all the 10 battalions of NDRF in the country," Singh said.
He expressed hope that the project, which has been awarded to a PSU Hindustan Steelworks Construction Ltd, would be completed within a time frame without compromising with quality.
Singh said a pre-monsoon meeting has been convened in Delhi on April 26 with all stake holders including state representatives to discuss preparations to deal with flood situation.
He said NDRF has saved lives of 4.73 lakh people since 2006. Besides, the force has also trained 41.48 lakh people in disaster management across the country.
The 9th battalion of NDRF has imparted training to 4.22 lakh people in disaster management as part of an awareness programme, he said adding it has also trained 9,000 personnel of the State Disaster Response Force in Bihar.