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Navy panel to study hydrographic features

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 20. The Eastern Command of the Indian Navy has constituted a committee to study hydrographic features of the region falling under its control in the wake of the tsunami.

Announcing this, Vice-Admiral O.P. Bansal, Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Command told presspersons here today that the study would also cover the changes that might have occurred in the sea. "We have the men and materials to conduct such studies," he said, adding that at regular intervals, the Navy had been carrying out similar surveys.

The purpose of such a study assumed importance in the context of reports that seawater level had gone up in certain places and there had been a dislocation of some other areas.

Asked about the lessons learnt by the Navy, Vice Admiral Bansal said his force had drawn up plans for storing items having long shelf-life such as blankets and tentage so that it could transport them quickly in times of natural disasters.

He said: "We (the Indian Navy) were the first to provide help to the friendly countries hit by the tsunami. And our work was appreciated by the local administration and people."

Alluding to assistance extended by some Western countries in Indonesia and other tsunami-hit nations, the Vice Admiral said: "They reached the places 10-12 days later after we went. But, they received greater attention."

To a query whether the forces came across members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, he said: "They took relief materials from us. We do not distinguish between man and man."

Adoption of child

The Navy decided to adopt the girl baby, Varshini, who was born on December 28 aboard INS Gariyal. "We rescued a pregnant woman from one of the islands of the Andamans after the tsunami struck there," Vice Admiral Bansal said.

Earlier there was an audio-visual presentation on rescue and relief operations conducted by the Navy in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.

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