Union Home Minister Amit Shah today exhorted all those working in Disaster response and mitigation sectors to make India number one in this field. Addressing the “Annual Conference on Capacity Building of SDRFs, Civil Defence, Home Guard and Fire Services” organised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) here in New Delhi, Shri Shah said the nation came a long way over the last two decades in its response to disasters and improved its capabilities in minimising loss of human lives and damage to economy.
He gave example of Orissa cyclone in 1999 when more than 10,000 people had died in comparison to the recent cyclone “Foni” that claimed 64 lives, which reflected the huge capabilities built in Disaster Response mechanisms. But we should not rest till we make ourcountry number one in the world in mitigating and responding to natural disasters, he added.
Home Minister Amit Shah assured that the Government would provide all necessary resources and equipment to realise this objective and suggested that the personnel in Disaster response forces should be trained to display compassion and commitment at the ground level during rescue and relief operations.
While cautioning that India is prone to multiple disasters, Shri Shah pointed out that frequent forest fires breaking out in hilly regions is a growing threat which needs to be responded to effectively. He directed NDRF, SDRF and other agencies concerned to conduct systematic analysis after each operation to identify possible weaknesses and measures to rectify them.
Speaking at the event, Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai praised the contribution of NDRF and compassion of its personnel displayed in rescue and relief operations during disasters. He recalled that during a flood in Bihar some time ago, a NDRF jawan had not only rescued a boy from a tree top but also saved a snake which took shelter on the tree. He said the Central Government was committed to providing all necessary resources so that NDRF could live up to growing expectations.
In his welcome address, S N Pradhan, Director General, NDRF said that the Force has saved lives of more than 1,15,000 people in over 2,600 operations. He said that the addition of four more battalions, the strength of NDRF would go up to 16 by 2020 and foundation for a new training academy in Nagpur would be laid soon.
The event was attended by Rajiv Jain, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Lt Gen (Retd) N.C. Marwah, member of National Disaster Management Authority and heads of different Central Armed Police Forces and SDRFs, Home Guards and Fire Services.