Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, addressing a two-day annual conference on capacity building of State Disaster Response Forces, hailed the work done by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and its agencies.
Shah also said that efforts should now be made to develop indigenous equipment to combat disasters in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
“Since its formation, the NDRF has participated in 3,000 rescue operations and saved the lives of over one lakh people, which is a great achievement. It has also done a very good job in disasters not only in India but also in many other countries,” the Home Minister further said.
Shah said disaster management was largely ignored in the country before 2000.
“It was in 2001, after the devastating earthquake in Gujarat, that then state 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,” he added.
“During the earlier NDA government, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee set up the National Disaster Management Committee and made a very good start by making Sharad Pawarji its Chairman,” the Minister said.
“On the lines of the NDRF, now 24 State Disaster Response Forces (SDRF) have been set up. Nagpur is also going to have a very big centre soon,” he said.
Amit Shah asserted that disaster management challenges could be solved only if all the parties were well equipped.
The minister also said that in the next five years, the NDRF must aim to upgrade its equipment and develop it in indigenously with the DRDO.
“Time has come for the equipment to combat disasters to go from India to Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he added.