Soon, 100 more motorised inflated boats to be added to existing fleet
In a bid to improve infrastructure to ensure better rescue operation during floods in the districts, the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department is all set to add around 100 more motorised inflated boats to its existing fleet.
Javed Khan, state Disaster Management minister, said: "The step has been taken to ensure better rescue work during floods."
There are around 13 flood-prone districts in the state including Howrah, Hooghly, North 24-Parganas, East Midnapore, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia and Jalpaiguri. At present, there are around 150 such boats with the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department. These boats are pressed into service three months ahead of monsoon in flood-prone districts. The boats are kept ready at a particular point in each of the districts from June to October.
These boats are basically pressed into action to rescue survivors when they get trapped and are used to transport them to safer destinations in case of heavy inundation. At a time, around 15 to 20 people can be carried in these boats. Situation often had arisen when need for more such motorised inflated boats were felt to rescue more number of people at a time. With 100 more such boats getting added to the fleet, the disaster management department could press more number of boats in each of the districts.
The state Disaster Management department is investing around Rs 4 crore to procure the 100 more boats. It is expected that they could be used if any flood-like situation arises in the coming monsoon. Civil defence volunteers have been trained to operate these boats and they have also been given special training as to how to ensure better rescue operation drives during flood.
Meanwhile, the state Disaster Management and Civil Defence department has also decided to set up a separate team comprising civil defence volunteers to carry out rescue operations in the hills.
They will be provided with special training to undertake rescue operations in hilly terrains. Sources said that youth from the hills will be given priority while recruiting as civil defence volunteers for this purpose. The reason for this being they are well accustomed to the terrain and situations that arise during any disaster in those areas.