New Delhi: The Assam Rifles, a central paramilitary force that guards India's border with Myanmar, will soon have a presence in Jammu and Kashmir as the government has approved conversion and placement of one of its battalion into the NDRF. A recent government order issued by the Union Home Ministry said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will have four new battalions that will be based in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the national capital region.
The order, accessed by PTI, said the new battalions of the NDRF will be drawn from the Assam Rifles (location in J-K), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) and the Border Security Force (Delhi-NCR region). The Assam Rifles draws its strength of officers from the Army and functions under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
Established in 1835 as a militia called the 'Cachar Levy', the paramilitary force today has a strength of about 47,000 personnel. "The process of acquiring land and operationalising the new NDRF battalions is now on," a senior official said.
The Narendra Modi government had approved raising of the four new NDRF battalions in August last year in order to strengthen India's disaster response set up at an estimated cost of Rs 637 crore. The aim for creation and placement of these new units is to reduce the response time, keeping in view the vast geographical area of the country, the government had said.
An NDRF battalion comprises a little over 1,000 personnel. Its battalions are raised from various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the parent force is responsible for feeding the ranks and personnel, who are sent on a time-bound deputation to the NDRF. The NDRF has 12 operational battalions at present. It is a specialised force that was raised in 2006 for specific tasks of relief and rescue during natural and man-made disasters or threatening situations.
The operational battalions are located in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, NCR (Ghaziabad), Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.