Railways response to disaster slow: Chidambaram

Home Minister P Chidambaram Wednesday regretted the enormous delay in rescue and relief teams reaching the train accident site at Sainthia in WB and said use of helicopters on such occasions should be looked into.

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram
Wednesday regretted the enormous delay in rescue and relief teams
reaching the train accident site at Sainthia in West Bengal
and said use of helicopters or small planes on such occasions
should be looked into.

He said the capacity of disaster management capacity
is tested only when a disasters strikes and one has to
increase their capacity.

"I was informed that the first relief team could leave
only about 2 hours and 30 minutes after the accident happened.
The second team could only leave seven hours after the
accident and they had to drive for about 220 kms which means
there is a clear gap in the mobility of the disaster team.

"So we need to increase our capacity to be able to
move disaster relief teams quickly which means perhaps
helicopters, small planes. All this would cost money but I
think capacity has to be built," he said.

Speaking at a function organised by the National
Disaster Management Authority, Chidambaram said, "I compliment
the NDMA and NDRF for vastly improving our capacity in case of
natural disasters like flood or cycle or fire. But there are
some other cases I think in which our response should be
better, for example if there is a train disaster."

He said in the last one-and-a-half years, the response
to disaster has been better especially to natural ones.

"More lives are being saved, more relief and aid is
being rushed to affected people, more quickly and the
situation brought to control within a few days," he said.

PTI

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