Number of army columns to be increased to 35

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Patna, Sep 01 (UNI) The Army has pressed 18 columns and 17 such would be done in two more days, taking the total number to 35, for carrying out relief and rescue operation in flood ravaged areas in north Bihar.

General Commanding Officer of Eastern Command Lt General H S Panag told newspersons here a total of 18 columns had already reached the flood affected areas and 17 more would reach by September 03 making it a total of 35.

''The deployed columns of Army are working round the clock in the affected areas and rendering support in most effective manner'', he added.

''Army has established two controlling headquarters which are also the administrative bases at Danapur and Katihar under headquarters Jharkhand Orissa Bihar(JOB) Sub Area and Bihar Regimental Centre respectively'', he said adding Helicopter Army had been placed in flood affected areas.

'' Besides the Flood Relief Columns, Army is also deploying infantry columns to back up support so that engineers task forces are totally focused on their primary tasks. Four such columns are being deployed which will be built up in due course'', Mr Panag said.

''Approximately 4800 troops, 200 BAUTS and equal amount of OBMs are already in place working day and night. Same amount will be brought in during next 2 to 3 days. These are our best troop and specialized equipment which have been brought and deployed for flood relief from all over India'', he maintained.

''Two Advance Light Helicopters(ALH) from Nasik have been moved in the flood affected area for felief and rescue operations.

Signal equipment including INMARSET have been mobilized from all over the country to cater for the communication requirement during the relief operations'', Mr Panag said.

'' All the Engineers resources of Central Command and other Commands, including 416 Engineer Brigade and Bengal Engineers Group (Roorkee), in strength have been brought into the flood affected area,'' he informed.

'' Ministry of Defence has ordered Ordinance Factories to provide more than 1000 tents in next three days.Government has ordered Patna airport to remain open and functional 24 hours to receive additional Army aid and relief material,'' he stated.

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