Talcher: The Civil Defence Organisation office setup in Angul district’s mineral-rich Talcher town in 1981 has been lying neglected without any officers and staff except for a night watchman.
Like policemen, fire services personnel, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), the trained Civil Defence volunteers are expected to come to the rescue of people in times of crisis such as natural calamities, emergencies or war-like situations. If required, they are also expected to help police in maintaining law and order situation. With these objectives, the central and state governments jointly started Civil Defence Organisation.
In Talcher town of Angul district, an office of Civil Defence Organisation was set up in 1981. A total of 1,513 volunteers were inducted after their training. However, the office, as well as the volunteers, have since long been neglected, not receiving any assistance from the government. Barring a night watchman, the Civil Defence Organisation office does not have any officers or staff.
The Odisha government took an initiative to set up the office of Civil Defence Organisation in Talcher town for it having important government offices such as MCL, NTPC, TTPS and Heavy Water Plant among others.
When it was set up as per the letter of Home department (Letter No-851/10/7/81), the office was considered as Category-II Civil Defence town office. Later it was upgraded to Category-I (A) Civil Defence Town office and subsequently to Category-I Civil Defence Town office. A total of 1,513 volunteers were trained to protect lives and properties during war and emergencies. Besides, they were trained to tackle natural disasters such as cyclone and flood. Moreover, they were also expected to assist the police in maintaining law and order situation during festivals such as Rath Yatra, Hingula Yatra and other state-level functions.
There should have been a CDI, an SSI, a junior clerk, a peon, a bike rider and a night watchman at this office. After lying vacant for 11 years, a CDI was appointed in 2016. He retired in April, 2018 and the CDI post has since been lying vacant. A clerk had somehow been managing the scene, but after his transfer, the office now seems to have lost its identity. The office also doesn’t have the required equipment for the volunteers to use at the time of need.
The night watchman has been opening the office since June 22.
For this office, Angul district Collector is the controller and the Sub-Collector is the deputy controller. However, with the office not having a permanent deputy controller, its activities are being seriously hampered. Further, nobody seems to be concerned about the earning of volunteers.
Expressing his concern, a volunteer Gyana Ranjan Das said the office is a Category-I Civil Defence Town office. For this, while the volunteers feel encouraged, the government is hardly thinking about it. Both central and state governments should take necessary steps in this regard.
Sharing a similar sentiment, volunteers Bauri Bandhu Bej and Srinibas Sethy alleged that the office has knowingly been kept in a state of neglect. With the volunteers not being assigned any task, their earning has come to zilch.
When contacted, Talcher Sub-Collector Biswaranjan Rath said he has informed about the state of affairs of the office to the Collector.
In this regard, Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain said, “I will first find out why no appointment has been made and then only I will take steps for filling up the vacant posts.”