Concerned over the possibility of terror attacks on the strategic storage reserves of petroleum products, the National Disaster Management Authority plans to mount mock exercises to check their security and work out remedial measures.
It has approached the Petroleum Ministry to identify the locations that are most vulnerable to a terror strike and in consultation with the concerned units to decide the dates of the mock drills for each facility.
The NDMA sources said these exercises are conducted in a systematic step-by-step approach that begins with an orientation conference with the stakeholders, followed by a tabletop exercise to discuss the worst case scenarios.
The actual mobilisation of resources takes place as per the assessed requirement in the mock exercises that helps in identifying gaps and shortcomings in manpower, equipment, material and systems.
At a recent meeting with the top officials, the Secretary (Security) directed the incorporation of response mechanisms in the crisis management plans prepared by the Petroleum Ministry to handle any crisis arising out of terrorist attacks targeting refineries, pipelines and storage facilities.
He pointed out that the CMPs currently focused only on natural disasters or any crisis arising out of human negligence while the need was to also incorporate potential terrorist related crisis situations and mechanisms to tackle them. He also laid stress on development of the response mechanisms at various levels that cover the state and district administrations as also at plant and depot level.
The meeting also discussed the state of security of the oil and gas pipelines. It was resolved to create a special security force to protect them as it was felt that they were most vulnerable as they are presently covered by untrained and poorly equipped home guards.
The Petroleum Ministry sources said the government has already cleared a plan to set up strategic reserves at three locations to handle emergencies in the event of any attack or disaster striking the existing storage facilities in different parts of the country.
The first such strategic reserve is to be built at Vizag with a storage capacity of 1 million metric tonnes, followed by another two at Mangalore and Padur which will have the capacity of 1.5 and 2.5 MMT respectively, the sources said.
They said the mock exercises are planned to examine the efficacy of the new CMPs, incorporating all situations including terrorist attacks.