No offsite mock drills to check disaster management readiness

  • Sachin Sharma, Hindustan Times, Bathinda
  • Updated: Jun 22, 2014 13:27 IST

As the major fire in the HPCL–Mittal energy limited refinery, on Friday, brought to focus industrial disasters, it has emerged that neither the district administration nor the major accident hazardous (MAH) industries in the district are following in letter and spirit the guidelines for ensuring disaster management preparedness.

The casual approach of both the administration and these industries towards disaster management is reflected from the fact that there has been no offsite mock drill in the district to check their preparedness to deal with any unlikely situation.

According to the provisions, the MAH industries need to conduct two onsite mock drills in a year and one offsite mock drill to check their readiness to cope up with the situation arising out of any mishap in these industries.

The onsite mock drill is conducted inside the campus of these industries while an offsite mock drill is conducted outside the campus of the industry in some residential areas or villages with the active involvement of the district administration in both the drills.

For the ‘out of the campus’ mock drill, the district administration is supposed to take initiative in cooperation with the industries but the administration has failed to do so.

That the district administration as well as the MAH industries are not following these guidelines had also come to the fore at a meeting of the Central Vigilant Committee (CVC) in November last year. At that time, the administration had claimed that it will direct these industries to work n this direction, but nothing has been done so far. The CVC is a subcommittee of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), constituted for the purpose of prompt response in case of any disaster and ensuring readiness to cope up with any unlikely situation.

“The DDMA meets only to discuss the readiness to meet the challenge of floods in the rainy season. However, meeting with any industrial disaster has not been on its agenda,” revealed sources. Even there has been no CVC meeting after the first one held in November last year. The district has potentially hazardous industries which mainly include Guru Gobind Singh refinery owned by HPCL and Mittal Energy limited, Indian Oil depot, oil depots of HPCL and BPCL, LPG bottling plants of HPCL and BPCL, National Fertilisers Limited, Guru Nanak Dev Ther mal Plant, Guru Hargobind Thermal plant, Lehra Mohabbat, Hindustan Pesticides and Chemicals, ammunition depot of Indian army.

Additional deputy commissioner Sonali Giri said that though there has not been any offsite mock drill, but the administration checks the industries’ vigilance to deal with a disaster-like situation. She said that the administration, a few days ago, had asked all these industries to give details about the stock of chemicals lying with them and also asked if antidote to these chemicals is available with these industries or not and industries are expected to reply within a week.

She said that to start with the offsite mock drill, the administration is planning to have training sessions for volunteers at the national disaster response force centre here with the help of these industries.

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