Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh’s upcoming capital city Visakhapatnam would be a safe zone soon, as an ‘industrial offsite emergency plan’ for 19 hazardous industries is in the pipeline.
The district administration has invited professional agencies to finalise the plan and three entities have come forward to do so. Of these, one will be selected based on expertise, exposure and experience in preparing such a plan. The selected agency will be required to submit the plan to the authorities in six months.
The existing ‘Manufacture, storage and import of hazardous chemicals rules, 1989’ (popularly known as MSIHC Rules) specify that every district prepare an offsite emergency plan with details of hazardous industries, their storage capacities of hazardous chemicals, details of personnel manning them, impact assessment in case of any mishap and initiation of rescue and relief measures. However, there generally was no compliance with this requirement, except for districts like East Godavari and Prakasam, which prepared such plans.
The Visakhapatnam district administration seeks preparation of emergency plan for 19 hazardous industries as per norms prescribed under the MSIHC Rules. The authorities intend to direct the agency once it is finalised to lay more stress on impact assessment in case of any industrial mishap in any of the 19 specified industrial units. So, they will be ready with the emergency plan on how to handle the situation without causing much trouble to the local residents and to the environment.
The district has an ‘offsite emergency plan’ updated in 2007. Since then, no plan has been prepared even as the district hosted several new industrial units and the storage capacities of the existing ones got enhanced.
Joint chief inspector of factories J. Siva Sankar Reddy said, “When we invited proposals for preparation of an industrial offsite emergency plan for 19 hazardous industries in Visakha district, three agencies have come forward. We will select one of them.”
The district has hundreds of industrial units and witnesses frequent mishaps.
There is a demand from stakeholders to expand the scope of the offsite emergency plan in Visakhapatnam involving all vulnerable industrial units, the port, the dockyard and other major installations to suit to all kinds of emergency situations and also for regular conduct of mock drills and training sessions to the personnel to face emergency. They also seek similar plans for all districts in the state.