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Guwahati: Assam has raised its own State Disaster Response Force on the lines of the elite National Disaster Response Force to tackle disaster situations.
The state force comprising two battalions, each with 140 personnel are likely to be deployed in Guwahati and Barak Valley in April after its personnel receive specialised training on how to respond to emergency situations like fire, floods, earthquakes and landslides.
State government in 2010 had declared that it would raise such a force. The force has been raised by the State Fire Service Organisation (SFSO), which will soon be renamed Fire and Emergency Services, Assam.
SFSO official said the recruitment had been completed and the 280 personnel started their training at the Regional Training Centre in North Guwahati.
“One battalion will be deployed at our headquarters at Panbazar in Guwahati while we are scouting for land near Badarpur in Karimganj district for deployment of the second battalion to look after emergency situations in Barak Valley. We hope more battalions will be raised and deployed in other parts of the state as well,” he added.
The National Disaster Response Force and the state civil defence organisation will provide specialised training to the state force in carrying out search and rescue operations during earthquake and urban flooding as their own training centre had facilities to train the personnel in tackling fire tragedies only.
The state force will be deployed in Guwahati and Silchar as these two areas have been identified as most vulnerable to disasters because of increasing population, business activities and traffic congestion. “We plan to train them on how to rescue people and restore communication during flash floods as this is a big problem in Guwahati,” another officer of the SFSO said.
The state force will also be trained to carry out public awareness programmes on the dos and don’ts during disasters to prevent and reduce damage in such situations.