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Rediff.com  » News » India is not prepared to handle big industrial disasters, says NDMA

India is not prepared to handle big industrial disasters, says NDMA

December 01, 2009 20:29 IST

The country is not prepared enough for large-scale industrial accidents like the recent incident of fire at the Indian Oil Company depot near Jaipur, the National Disaster Management Authority said.

Speaking at the national conference on 'Safe transportation of hazardous, dangerous goods through land, air, sea and pipelines in Ahmedabad on Monday, member of the NDMA J R Bharadwaj said that there was a gap between disaster mitigation and preparedness. "We have all the rules and regulation in place for crisis management, but the main problem lies in its implementation," Bharadwaj said.

He said that NDMA had issued guidelines for industrial safety three years ago but the regulators have not been able to come up with a national action plan till now. "We are not prepared enough for large scale industrial disaster," Bharadwaj said. He also cited the recent incident of fire at the Indian Oil Corporation depot near Jaipur and said it showed lack of preparedness as well as mitigation. Stressing need for medical preparedness, Bharadwaj said, "During an industrial accident or other events causing mass casualties, many victims suffer burn injuries, but there are not enough burn beds in the district hospitals, both public and private."

"Adequate number of orthopedic beds are also lacking in hospitals," Bharadwaj added. "We need to put our heads together and find where we are lacking and where we need to improve," he said. Bhardawaj further said that implementation of NDMA guideline has failed in the private sector, while public sector has done better in terms of industrial safety. "The private industry managers need to think about safety and preparedness besides increasing production," he added.

Agreeing with Bharadwaj, chief executive officer of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Ranjit Bannerji, said that health system in Gujarat was ill-equipped to deal with industrial disasters. "One of the serious problems is the state of our hospitals. All hospitals should have enough first aid and adequate medicine," Bannerji said. "Our hospitals (in Gujarat) are ill-equipped for industrial disasters and facilities are not sufficient ," he added. Bannerji also said that though GSDMA has purchased over Rs 350 crore of equipments to tackle disasters, it was not enough for state like Gujarat which has nearly 35 per cent of country's total industries producing hazardous goods.

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