Not our instructor: Disaster authority denies role in Tamil Nadu mock drill death

Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami, who promised stringent action against organisers of the drill, has announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh for the victim’s family.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2018 23:17 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
National Disaster Management Authority,Safety drill,Disaster management
Lokeshwari, a second-year BBA student, died after jumping off the second floor of a college building during a disaster-management drill in Coimbatore on Thursday. (Video grab)

A day after the death of a 19-year-old woman student in a safety drill at her college in Coimbatore, it emerged on Friday that the man leading the drill wasn’t associated with the National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) as he claimed to be.

The trainer, identified as G Aarumugam, is under police custody. Coimbatore police said he had claimed to be from NDMA .

On Thursday, N Logeswari, a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration student at Kovai Kalaimagal Arts and Science College in Coimbatore’s Narasipuram, died when she was forced to jump from the second floor of her college building during the drill.

Hours after the incident, NDMA said Aarumugam, who belongs to Vandalur near Chennai, did not have any links with the authority. Coimbatore police said the documents which the trainer had submitted to the college management were fake.

“When we interrogated Arumugam, we found that he is not associated with NDMA,” Pa Moorthy, superintendent of police, Coimbatore district, said, “ The letter which he had given to the institution was fake. He claims that he is approved by the NDMA, but there is no proof of that. Therefore, we can consider this an impersonation. Since he had done this drill at many colleges, the investigation will look into all of that.”

Human rights activist Paalam Narayanan urged the government to take action against the college management for not checking the background of the trainer.

“How could the college management simply allow someone claiming himself to be an NDMA person to put students’ lives at risk? They should have examined his background. As the drill is about the lives of young students, college management should have deployed their representatives to ensure safety,” Narayanan said.

When contacted, N Mala, principal of the college, said: “We followed all the norms for the drill. We arranged proper security measures. However, this is an unexpected and unfortunate event. The police have got all the necessary documents. We cannot offer any other comments.”

Rekha Nambiyar, NDMA commandant of Tamil Nadu, urged education institutions to seek prior permission from the agency before conducting such drills. “Educational institutions in Tamil Nadu should get proper prior approval from us to conduct the disaster management drills,” Nambiyar told reporters.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy announced a solatium of Rs.5 lakh to the family of Logeswari

Lok Sabha deputy speaker M .Thambidurai ,in an election affidavit filed by him during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, had declared that his wife Banumathi was the honorary chairman of the Kovai Kalaimagal education institution of Coimbatore. College principal Mala claimed that Thambidurai’s wife currently doesn’t not hold the post.

First Published: Jul 13, 2018 16:32 IST