New Delhi: Days after a fire at an IOC's Hazira depot killed 3 persons, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reasons for delay in implementation of recommendations of a committee that went into similar incident three years ago.
Modi "questioned the Centre over delay in the implementation of M B Lal Committee recommendations to prevent recurrence of incidents such as the recent fire outbreak at the Hazira plant of Indian Oil Corp near Surat on January 5," a state government statement issued through a public relations agency said.

The seven-member committee headed by former chairman of HPCL M B Lal was constituted to go into the reasons for the major fire at IOC's Jaipur terminal on October 29, 2009, that blazed for 11 days and killed 11 persons besides injuring more than 45. The fire had caused loss of Rs 280 crore.

"In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi expressed serious concern over no public knowledge regarding status of the implementation of 118 recommendations made by Lal Committee," it said.

The Committee had submitted its report on January 29, 2010. Modi in his letter said the latest incident at Hazira posed 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," the statement quoted him as writing.

Stating that safety and security of installations was of prime importance, he said, "We cannot afford to have another such incident as it impacts our energy security and questions our ability to manage such sensitive installations".

Modi asked the Prime Minister that in case 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 statement said timely action of the state government had helped bring the fire at Hazira under control within 24 hours.

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 available, and there was no delay in emergency response for a long period.

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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