STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 8 July
The Siliguri sub-divisional office (SDO) has made elaborate arrangements to tackle any eventuality during the monsoon, particularly in view of the sub-division experiencing heavy downpour for the past few days.
The sub- divisional officer, Ms Rachna Bhagat, has held two meetings recently with the department of disaster management and some other concerned departments over the issue.
Ms Bhagat said the administration has held a meeting with the Indian Air Force so that the IAF choppers could be used during the emergency.
“Two places have been identified at Phansidewa and Matigara where the helicopters can land. In case of emergency, the helicopters can be pressed into service to rescue the marooned people, to supply tarpaulins, dry food and other relief materials to the affected people," Ms Bhagat said today.
The administration has also issued an order to the panchayat pradhans and the block development officers (BDOs) today to personally inspect the condition of the river banks and embankments.
Control rooms have been set up at the panchayat offices and also the BDO offices. They would remain operational for 24 hours.
Ms Bhagat said the irrigation department has been sending updated information about the rivers round the clock. “We are monitoring the present condition of the rivers as to whether the water levels are reaching in the neighbourhood of the danger marks through the reports being sent by the irrigation department. Several rescue centres have been opened at various schools across the blocs in the sub-division," she added.
One unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NBRF) and the West Bengal Civil Emergency Force (WBCEF) would also work in tandem to tackle any disaster. “There are 30 personnel working with the NBRF. Apart from them, there are three officers and two auxiliary nursing midwife (ANM). The NDRF is equipped with four inflated boats, 20 life jackets, ropes and concrete cutters. This is for the first time that the NBRF has been brought here. A nine-member WBCEF is also available for contingency," said a senior official associated with the disaster management department.
A control room was set up at the SDO office on 1 June and it would remain operational till 15 October. The control room number is 0353-2525213/2430800.
Some wards in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) have been water-logged today following heavy downpour for the past 24 hours. Siliguri is reported to have received 46 mm rainfall during this period ~ the figure signifying heavy rains.