The Raigad district administration has demanded the setting up of a permanent unit of the National Disaster Response Force in the district after the Mahad building collapse incident on Monday, in which at 16 lives were lost and many others left injured. Currently, in the event of a disaster, the district has to rely on either Mumbai or Pune for NDRF teams. Even after the Mahad building collapse, three NDRF teams had to be rushed to the spot from Pune.
Since it was an emergency, a green corridor was necessitated to enable the NDRF team to reach the incident site at the earliest and speed up the rescue operation.
Raigad district collector Nidhi Chaudhari said that the district administration has written to the state government on the issue and has received a positive response. “The state government will take the matter further with the NDRF and the Central government for a separate unit in the district,” said Chaudhari.
The district administration is ready to provide land and other facilities for setting up a permanent NDRF base. “We will make available land and other facilities, whenever the NDRF requires,” said Chaudhari.
According to the district administration, the Raigad district is disaster-prone due to several factors, ranging from its being a low-lying area to being in the proximity of the coast. During the Savitri river bridge collapse, an NDRF team from Pune was sent for the rescue operation. “In most such incidents, the golden hour lapses, and the chance to minimise human losses fades,” said Chaudhari.
Geographically, the district is saucer-shaped and during heavy rainfall, there is a flood-like situation. “Due to the proximity of the coastal region, during a cyclone, there is always the need for an expert in rescue operations,” she added.
Since the district is disaster-prone, a permanent NDRF team can also create awareness among people and train local agencies. “Disasters like floods and cyclones cannot be averted. However, awareness can minimise the losses. There is a need to make the people of the district aware on how to react to a disaster and the dos and don’ts in such a situation,” added Chaudhari.