7th NDRF battalion will remain in Punjab
Bathinda September 20:
The state government has reportedly convinced the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) not to shift the 7th Battalion of the National Disaster Management Force
NDRF from Bathinda to Himachal Pradesh.
The battalion caters Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh in any disaster-like situation. At present, the battalion, comprising of 18 teams, is stationed at the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) campus located on Bibiwala road in Bathinda.
Since the whole battalion is on deputation here, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) recently planned to shift it to Himachal Pradesh and vacate the campus for the stationing of a battalion of the ITBP. However, observing the NDRF a major helping hand during the recent floods, the state government quickly launched a move to retain them in Punjab.
It also offered the MHA to make all arrangements for the setting up of a separate regional NDRF camp. The state government has even proposed seven sites located within 10-km radius of Bathinda city for the purpose. Finding the proposal worth considering, the MHA has now asked the NDMA authorities to check the feasibility of all sites.
NDRF officials, on behalf of the NDMA, have started visiting the sites - of which two are located on Bathinda-Muktsar road and two on Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road, while one each on Bathinda-Malout road, Bathinda-Goniana road and Bathinda-Badal road. It has also been reported that the Punjab government will just assist the MHA in the land acquisition process. The compensation amount will be borne by the Union government.
Confirming the facts, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, Gurkirat Kirpal Singh said, “Observing the advantages of the NDRF, the state government does not want it to leave Punjab”. Commandant of the 7th Battalion of the NDRF RK Verma said, “Before selecting any site, we will consider factors like road, air, rail connectivity, distance to schools, hospitals and other basic amenities. Once the high command finalises a location, a huge set-up would be come up there for the stationing of the battalion.”
It may be mentioned that at present the battalion is equipped with about 100 vehicles, 72 boats, six fibre boats, dog squads, inflatable lights, cutters, air-lift bags etc., to serve the region at any time of need.