Shree Modi asks Prime Minister to implement M. B. Lal Committee recommendations without any further delay

New DelhiGujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today questioned the Centre over delay in the implementation of by M. B. Lal Committee recommendations to prevent recurrence of incidents such as the recent fire outbreak at the Hazira plant of Indian Oil Corporation near Surat on 5thJanuary, 2013. In the wake of fire at IOC Jaipur terminal on 29th October, 2009, where fire continue for 11 days and 11 people died and more than 45 people injured. It caused loss of Rs. 280 crore. Then, the Central Government set up a 7-member committee under the chairmanship of Sh. M B Lal, Ex-Chairman HPCL to look into the incidence and recommend future course of action to prevent such incidence.

In a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Shri Modi expressed serious concern over no public knowledge regarding status of the implementation of 118 recommendations made by M. B. Lal Committee. As reported, the Committee submitted its report on 29 January, 2010.

The Hazira plant fire incident on 5th of this month has not only caused huge financial loss and disruption of oil supply but also led to the loss of three precious human lives and widespread panic in the nearby areas.

Shri Modi wrote in his letter that the latest incident at Hazira poses a serious question mark on the ability of the Central Government to take effective and timely steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Poor implementation records and recurrence of such incidents further weakens the faith of the people in the Government’s ability to provide safety and security to the citizens, he stated.

It is indeed safety and security of our installations is of prime importance and needs to be looked into without any kind of delay, Shri Modi stated in his letter. We cannot afford to have another such incident as it impacts our energy security and questions our ability to manage such sensitive installations, he added.

The Gujarat Chief Minister asked the Prime Minister that in case those recommendations have not been implemented in entirety, the Government of India should fix the responsibility within a reasonable time frame so that safety and security of such installations are not compromised any further.

The immediate response of State Disaster Response Teams along with Industrial & Fire safety experts rushing to the spot controlled the situation at Hazira. It was because of the timely and commendable actions of the State Government that the fire which could have played havoc was controlled within 24 hours thus minimising the damage. During his visit, Hon’ble Union Minister of Petroleum Shri Veerappa Moily commended the State Government for its exemplary action.

According to the M. B. Lal Committee, Jaipur incident was the first of its kind in India and third one reported globally. The Panel had suggested that the accident could have been managed if safety procedures provided in the control room were not defunct; the backup for emergency shutdown from control room was not available, and there was delay in emergency response for a long period. Shri Modi said that safety of our oil depots/ terminals is of paramount importance to ensure energy security and such recurrence of fire cannot be accepted.

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