VIJAYAWADA: Lack of a uniform approach in inspection of industries that handle hazardous and explosive substances, as a special drive, seems to be defeating the very purpose of inspection that is aimed at ensuring safety and environmental compliance in the State.
In the aftermath of styrene vapour leak from LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, the state government constituted a high-power committee and based on its recommendation, a special 90-day drive was ordered from mid-August onwards. The units to be covered for inspection are all the hazardous chemical industries covered under MSIHC Rules, 1989, including all Red category units.
A district joint committee was constituted with the joint collector in-charge for industries and commerce as its chairman.
Sources privy to the ongoing special drive say that out of 1,326 industrial units identified for inspection in the entire state, notices have been served only 300 units following deviations in certain norms to ensure their compliance with safety.
For instance, in East Godavari district, 21 industrial units are falling under Major Accident Hazard (MAH) category out of a total number of 151 units. However, notices were only sent to six units, which works to a mere 3.92%.
In Visakhapatnam district, 20 industrial units fall under MAH category out of a total of 166 units. So far, notices have been served on 114 units coming up to 68.6%. With regard to Krishna district too, out of a total number of 151 industrial units, notices have been served only on six units.
Sources maintain that even as the special drive is being taken up from August 15 following issue of GO No. 156 and it is to be completed by mid-November, the inspection teams managed to serve notices only to around 300 units. One of the reasons is reportedly a lack of uniform approach. The JCs are learnt to have directed inspection teams, drawn from various departments, to go by their respective norms. Pressure from various quarters are also learnt to be hindering the pace of inspection.
A senior official from Factories department said, “There is a need to have a uniform approach during inspection of all targeted industrial units. This will ensure their total compliance with safety norms for all deviations unlike the present official-oriented compliance as it varies from person to person.”
Department sources say that to serve notices on faulty industrial units is a big task and once they are served, the onus lies on both inspecting officials and owners for the reason that in case of any mishap, both parties will be held responsible.