Shimla: Rescue and retrieval operations during Beas tragedy having pointed out shortcomings in the response teams, the government today decided to set up its own professional State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).
Presiding over a high level meeting, chief minister Virbhadra Singh said, “The State Disaster Response Force would be made capable of handling any adverse situation.
Water released from a dam (Largi) at about 6.30 on the evening of 8 June, 2014 had caused a sudden rise in water levels in Beas River that had washed away 24 engineering students, who had stepped onto boulders near Thalot village for clicking photographs.
Not enough trained manpower nor any night time rescue abilities had hindered rescue operations that only got started next morning.
“To begin with 300 Jawans would be given operational level training right from disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building. Equipments required to be used during disasters would be made available at Tehsil level,” said a government spokesman.
Raising concern over the Thalot incident the chief minister directed that bilingual hoardings with warnings be put up to warn locals and tourists from venturing out into rivers and other dangerous areas.
Virbhadra Singh stressed for installing modern warning systems, which included using GPRS for establishing location of any mishap or disaster so that rescue and relief operations could be carried out at short notice.
Others present in the meeting included revenue minister Kaul Singh Thakur, vice-chairman state disaster management authority Rajinder Rana, revenue secretary Tarun Shridhar, additional chief secretaries Vineet Chaudhary & VC Pharka and DGP Sanjay Kumar.