K'taka to strengthen disaster management, to spend Rs 15 cr

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Bengaluru, May 16 (PTI) The Karnataka government has decided to strengthen disaster management for which Rs 15 crore will be given, said Home Minister of the State Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday The sum would be used to get the required equipment and also raise two more companies of the state disaster response force (SDRF), he told reporters here.

'Our government is doing everything possible to strengthen the SDRF, to increase the number of men. Last time, we recruited over 100 ex-military personnel. This year, we will recruit 100 more,' the Minister said.

Already, 434 people are working in four companies of SDRF stationed in Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Kalaburagi and Mysuru, and it has been decided to set up a company at Davangere, also one between Hubli-Dharwad and Belagavi region because Belagavi faces floods repeatedly, he said.

'The government has decided to strengthen disaster management and this year Rs 15 crore will be given for procuring equipment such as four earthmovers, about 14 ambulances, and to raise two more companies of SDRF, among others,' he said.

The Minister's statement came even as the cyclone Tauktae wrought havoc in the coastal and surrounding Malnad districts which have also been witnessing large-scale destruction of life and property due to torrential rains, floods and landslides over the last three years.

Noting that the state government had released Rs 15 crore last year for the equipment, Bommai said the crucial items that were not with the SDRF like hydraulic, electric and battery-operated equipment, speed-boats, stretchers, electric wood and concrete-cutters, special lights and underwater equipment have been procured.

He said one batch of equipment has already gone to cyclone Tauktae-hit Udupi, also vehicles like bus, trucks were being sent to the affected coastal areas of Mangaluru, Karwar, including Udupi.

SDRF men have been sent to these cyclone-hit coastal areas from Mangaluru and Bengaluru, and depending on the situation and needs, men would be sent from Kalaburagi too, he said.

Around 1,000 trained personnel from fire force, police, coastal police, home guards, civil defence and SDRF have been deployed.

The Home Minister, also in-charge of Udupi district, said about 34 houses have been damaged in the district due to cyclone and people have been rescued, also those living in low-lying areas have been shifted.

He further said eight people were missing as a boat capsized near the coast of Padubdri and Surathkal. 'We have rescued two; some bodies have been recovered, and rescue operations are on by NDRF with the help of the SDRF,' he added. PTI KSU NVG NVG