The city-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), which specialises in making specialised ration for the defence personnel and their varying needs, airlifted 5 tonnes of ready-to-eat processed food for the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
This followed a request from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters. The 5 tonnes of food equals to 35,000 meals, each providing 2,800 calories. The DFRL has formulated 10 varieties of meals, each containing rice, chapattis, different types of curries and sweets.
Harsha Vardhan Batra, Director, DFRL, told The Hindu that they had been asked to prepare another 4 to 5 tonnes of ready-to-eat meals at short notice, and the staff were geared up for that.
“We are a research laboratory not engaged in mass production of food but the nearly 250 staff and students of the institute rose to the occasion and worked round the clock to assemble and pack the food in 24 hours. We received orders on Sunday night and began working on Monday and the consignment was airlifted on Tuesday,” Dr. Batra said.
The DRDO had sent a special carrier from New Delhi to airlift the consignment, according to him. The food items sent from the DFRL are read-to-eat and wholesome and have a shelf life of over one year.
The staff may require another three days to prepare an additional 5 tonnes of food, he said.
A premier research institution affiliated to DRDO, DFRL has developed food technology and ration packs that are light to carry for the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. Established in 1961, the DFRL has formulated specialised ration to the jawans stationed at the Siachen Glacier where cooking is impossible due to freezing temperatures and high altitude. The DFRL has been the sole supplier of ration to India’s Antarctica expedition as also the Indo-Soviet space expedition apart from catering to the needs of the Army mountaineering squads to Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest.