After the Malin landslide, the state government had approved the formation of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) on the lines of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). However, recruitment of personnel from the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), as proposed, has not begun even a year later.
In the early hours of July 30, a major landslide had hit Malin village in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, claiming 151 lives. It was NDRF personnel who had taken out bodies buried under debris. The 24×7 search operation had taken 10 days to complete.
After the tragedy, the state government had approved the raising of SDRF battalions in various parts of the state and recruit personnel from the available force of the SRPF in the same way as the NDRF battalions were raised from the available forces of the Central Reserved Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Security Force and Central Industrial Security Force.
Suhas Diwase, director of the State Disaster Management Unit, said, “After the state government had approved the formation of the SDRF, the state director general of police was instructed to assign the stipulated strength of personnel. But it has not happened. As personnel have not been allotted, no steps have been taken on purchasing equipment.”
Despite repeated attempts, senior officers from the SRPF headquarters were not available for comment.
The only unit of the NDRF which caters to Maharashtra and also other neighbouring states is stationed at Talegaon Dhabade, near Pune.
Alok Awasthi, the Commandant of the Fifth Battalion of the NDRF said, “Though landslide was an important part of exercises even before the Malin incident, it became one of our key focus areas since then. The presence of a state-level force will definitely increase the disaster response abilities.”
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