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Home Minister asks NDRF to list disaster-combat tools


New Delhi: National Disaster Response Force has been asked by the Home Minister Amit Shah to build a nationwide database of disaster-combat equipment and systems in the disposal of the government, public sector undertakings and private sector so that the information could be used when a disaster occurs.

Home Minister was addressing the two-day annual conference organised by the NDRF on capacity-building of state disaster response forces. NDRF is a government body with 12 battalions based in states to respond to any form of disaster.

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

Shah said that the Centre was informed about the state-of-the-art equipment and training, which the “government will provide for, but there is no harm in using equipment and systems that are already available.”

He recalled the 1999 Odisha cyclone which claimed 10,000 lives and compared the same with Cyclone Fani in which 67 lives were lost.

“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,” The Indian Express quoted him.

Appreciating the NDRF, Shah said efforts should be made to develop equipment to combat disasters in collaboration with 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 also drew attention to forest fires as they have become more frequent. “You must develop the expertise to deal with them,” he said.