Aparajit Chakraborty 
[email protected] 
Kolkata, 25 October
Alarmed over studies regarding state’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the state Disaster Management Department has started training teachers and students of three north Bengal districts to combat disaster. 
Training will be imparted in 600 schools in three districts ~ Cooch Behar, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri ~ as these districts have been identified as disaster prone by the Geological Survey of India. 
Training will be imparted by teachers, who will be trained by master trainers trained by officials of the disaster management and national disaster management authority.  
The training will help student take precautionary measures to save themselves during any disaster. The Centre has allocated R1.5 crore for the training project.
A curriculum and textbooks have been prepared by the department to train the students. 
“It is the schools that are mostly affected during natural disasters. Therefore, disaster management training like first aid, fire safety, search and rescue operations, apart from mock drills, can be helpful in all kinds of crisis,” said state Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan. 
A committee ~ National School Safety Programme~ will be formed to impart the training. The committee will comprise students and teachers and para-teaching staff of the school.      
Five teams ~ search and rescue, early warning, first aid, shelter and liaison ~ will be formed under the committee. It is a Centre-sponsored programme, designed by the National Disaster Management Authority to prevent, said an official of the department. 
Around 17 state governments have started the project in vulnerable areas.  
Students and teachers will be able to take precautionary measures during an earthquake, landslide, flood, cyclone, fire and other kinds of disasters, Mr Khan said. 
The training is scheduled to be completes by July 2014, said a senior official of the department. 
The department has also started a graphic visual survey of school buildings in the districts. The survey will help assess condition of the buildings.
School buildings in hilly areas are most vulnerable to disasters. Many vulnerable buildings will be constructed following earthquake resistant norms.