News

Coronavirus pandemic: NDRF is on standby mode, ready for action, says chief

PTI Kolkata | Updated on March 27, 2020 Published on March 27, 2020

File photo

Bihar and Tamil Nadu have already sought the NDRF’s help to prevent spread, says Director Geneal SN Pradhan

The NDRF, the specialised force to tackle disasters, is getting battle-ready should its services are required amid rising cases of the deadly Covid-19 that has put the country under an unprecedented lockdown, its Director Geneal SN Pradhan said.

Pradhan said personnel of the National Disaster Response Force are also present in all the COVID-19 state control rooms as part of its preparedness.

We have prepared 84 small core teams per battalion. The force is trying to cover 600 personnel in each battalion with personal protection equipment (PPE)... we have informed the Chief Secretaries of all the States that we are on standby mode and can be called in as and when required in terms of the protocol, he told PTI in a telephonic interview.

Our men are deputed in the dedicated control rooms of States so that we are on the same page with the local authority in terms of the information, work and tasking, he added.

NDRF has 12 battalions, each consisting of 1,150 personnel.

Pradhan said Bihar and Tamil Nadu have already sought its help for coronavirus prevention exercise. On Thursday, the Bihar government had asked for two NDRF teams to be on standby in Patna and Munger for support to the local police and medical staff. Tamil Nadu called us to tend to segregation activities at railway stations, he said.

Facilitating frontline health workers

The force has so far trained nearly 28,000 personnel, including those from the CISF and other forces, and will continue with the routine every day, but in smaller batches to maintain social distancing.

Pradhan said the NDRF has been successful in clearing a lot of apprehension of the staff of other forces about the coronavirus safety precautions.

“We have been preparing and training all the outward-facing staff across the landports, airports and seaports for the last one month on how to wear PPEs, especially the gloves and masks and how to handle them, and the basic aspects of social distancing,” the NDRF chief said.

Pradhan, who assumed charge in January last year, said personnel of the force are trained for medical first response (MFR) and pre-hospital treatment (PHT), and can function as the facilitating arm of States for the frontline health workers.

We are not in the frontline like doctors or in the secondline like paramedics, but probably feature right after them... NDRF men can be of help at the quarantine centres or in places where there are mass cases, he said.

The Odisha-born IPS officer also said it will have enough personnel to respond to any natural disaster that may arise amid the COVID-19 crisis, notwithstanding the nearly 50 per cent of its strength in all readiness for a possible coronavirus call.

We will work in a collaborative model with the states for example, there will be a local policeman, a local medical professional, then there will be an NDRF personnel so that we can economise the whole exercise and judiciously use our force, Pradhan said.

Published on March 27, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.