The Citizens of Guwahati witness to the biggest ever flood relief Exercise in an urban setting Exercise Jalrahat, being conducted by the Armed Forces in conjunction with the State Government of Assam and Assam State disaster Management Authority in their own city on the Banks of River Brahamaputra an icon ever integral to their life and existence.
The event was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam Sri Sarbanand at Sona Ram High School ground at Santipur on the banks of Brahamaputra. The event was witnessed by a large number of citizens of Guwahati including children. It was a life time experience for people who had the opportunity to see this exercise.
The exercise in the form of a mock drill and demonstration was conducted on settings akin to near simulated real situation of flood in an urban centre. The entire resources of the Armed Forces, Government of Assam, NDRF, ASDMA and other Governmental and Non Governmental Agencies were on display in their full splendor.
The mock exercise and demonstration started with early warning of heavy rains and impending floods in the city. It then began with an aerial reconnaissance by the Cheetah helicopter of the Army Aviation. The conversation between the pilot and senior officer of the Army reporting the assessment of situation was also depicted. On assessing the criticality of the moment, Flood control Teams from NDRF, SDRF and Indian Army were launched with a high speed action to rescue the victims from a mock island, depicted by a barge in the river.
Major highlights of the Mock drill were, the employment of Indian Air Force Helicopters MI-17 and Indian Army Aviation, Advance Light Helicopters in multiple roles in flood relief to include rescue of marooned people from places made inaccessible by flood waters, evacuation of persons from rooftop of high-rise buildings which is a high risk maneuver undertaken by the best helicopter pilots in the country, rescue of people stranded at isolated places in water logged areas under slung.
In addition the spectators were thrilled to watch the skills of the naval divers of the Indian Navy, NDRF and SDRF in executing their expertise in rescue of flood effected people in situ to include resuscitation and provision of life saving first aid, it was a first time experience for most people present.
The Helicopters of Indian Army Aviation also displayed their skills and their landing of Elite troops of the Special Forces of the Indian Army for rescue of trapped people was a treat to watch.
Use of improvised aids in floods, formed with household things like tyre tubes, plastic jerricanes/ bottles, football/basketball, dry coconuts and thermocol pieces was shown to educate locals to prepare themselves for any eventuality. Dropping of relief material was carried out by MI-17 helicopter.
A static demonstration depicting the disaster managing capabilities of National/ State disaster management agencies, CPFs and Indian Armed Forces was also organized for the common public of the city at the Assam Engineering Institute Ground, Chandmari.
The mock exercise and demonstration was also attended by Shri VK Pipersenia, Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam, Senior state officials, Lt Gen D Anbu AVSM, YSM, SM, GOC GAJRAJ Corps, Maj Gen Rajeev Sirohi, VSM, GOC Red Horn Division, Senior officers of National and State disaster management agencies – NDMA, ASDMA, NDRF and SDRF, representatives from CPFs, NCC cadets, school children and local populace of Guwahati.
The Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Sarbananda Sonowal commended the joint initiative of the State government, disaster management agencies and Armed Forces and congratulated them for their vibrant participation. He also appreciated that such exercises be conducted regularly to keep all agencies well prepared and synergized for ensuring the safety of people of Assam in case of floods.