In order to check its preparedness to handle chemical and industrial disasters, the NDRF would conduct multiple mock drills at large industrial installations in various states.
The central force, also tasked to tackle possible Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) accidents, apart from responding to natural and man made disasters, has chalked out a programme where at least 55 mock drills will be held across the country at large industrial sites between August and February next year.
In order to ensure the participation of all stakeholders, NDRF Director General O P Singh has written to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories in this regard.
“Though various security instructions and drills are already in place, a need is felt to educate and sensitise the various stakeholders on this issue. Towards this, joint mock exercises with NDRF can be planned in major multi-hazard industries and clusters of medium-level units. These mock exercises will go a long way in saving precious lives and property,” the letter, accessed by PTI, said.
As per data, there are about 1,750 Major Accident Hazard (MAH) units and small and medium-sized industries in the country and many more new such industries are being established.
A report prepared with regard to these hazards says chemical accidents can occur due to multiple reasons like lack of safety measures, technical breakdown or human error.
A senior official said these mock drills will help prepare contingency plans and fine-tune the standard operating procedures to be undertaken to not only contain such accidents but also effectively combat them.
Such accidents, it said, initiate a series of uncontrolled physio-chemical phenomenon such as runaway chemical reactions, large spills, fires and explosions.
“These accidents eventually target both human and non-human in the form of immediate and residual or long-term consequences,” the report said.
The NDRF chief, in his communication, said his ten units spread across the country have been directed to liaise with the state administration in this regard and the respective commanders of these units will conceive the combat action in consultation with stakeholders.
As part of these resilience-building initiatives, the NDRF recently trained over 1 lakh people within a month on how to effectively respond during man-made or natural emergencies.
The NDRF, a fully deputationist organisation which draws its manpower from central paramilitary forces, works under the Union Home Ministry and its 12 battalions are stationed at strategic locations. It also has over two dozen regional response centres.
The force was the lead unit that provided succour to the victims of numerous tragedies including the 2013 Uttarakhand floods and last year’s quake in Nepal.