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Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 14, 2013
The lax approach of senior officials and employees of Chandigarh administration came to the fore during the mock drill at UT Secretariat on Wednesday.
Even as senior member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), JK Sinha, said that certain guidelines were issued to everyone and people were asked not to move out of buildings before the siren was sounded, a majority of secretariat staff, especially women, began gathering on the ground floor of the building much before the hooter went off.

As the siren was sounded at 10:35am, UT joint secretary (estate) SK Setia was the first to reach the ground floor and leave the building at 10:37am, followed by chief engineer SK Chadha. UT home secretary Anil Kumar left the building at 10:41am, followed by UT advisor KK Sharma a minute later.

All the officials were seen casually leaving the building. One hand in pocket, the adviser was busy checking his cell phone and simultaneously talking to his staff members.

However, at the special control room set up at the Chandigarh Police headquarters for monitoring the drill, both the adviser and home secretary keenly participated in the exercise. The adviser actively coordinated with the officials in SAS Nagar, Panchkula and Shimla for marshaling resources.

Some of the officials repeatedly quizzed their staff members to know when the drill would get over.

A majority of employees appeared to be least interested in watching the mock drill proceedings, busy are they were in talking and making fun of poor response time of various agencies involved.

Another goof-up came to the fore when police failed to stop joint director sports and a PCS officer, who drove into the complex in their official vehicles even as the drill was underway.

Police officials overseeing the arrangements for the drill failed to keep the road clear and prevent people from entering the complex when the drill was in progress, thus causing hindrances.