The recent major fire at a chemical unit at Taloja MIDC area which completely destroyed a factory while inflicting huge damage to some neighbouring units calls for regular local crisis group meetings in the region.
Taloja / Panvel / Navi Mumbai: The recent incident of fire at Taloja MIDC was sort of an eye opener for the local administration and residents as well. The fact that residents of Taloja and Kharghar are very close to the industrial area, and in the event of a much bigger incident that this, could be left clueless at safeguarding themselves. The need for a better crisis management in the region has been demanded by the Technologists’ Welfare Association, Panvel, who have written to the Maharashtra CM and the PCMC Commissioner, who also happens to be the Chairperson of the Local Crisis Group of Panvel.
The association has requested an urgent “Local Crisis Group” meeting, in accordance with the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986, and Chemical Accident Rules, 1996.
SV Ranade, President, Technologists’ Welfare Association, shares, “There is an urgent need to conduct a Local Crisis Group meeting owing to the recent fire incident. The Taloja MIDC industrial area is in very close vicinity of the residential areas of Taloja and Kharghar, while also affecting neighbouring areas like Kamothe, Kalamboli and Panvel. It would be very helpful to make the local community aware of the preparedness of offsite emergency agencies, instill some level of confidence in them to act rationally during such incidents. They also need to be helped with an need in disaster management.”
“The Local Crisis Group Meetings should involve factory owners, management, workers and local residents on a regular basis. There has to be productive discussion on working out practical plans to handle such incidents.”
The TWA’s correspondence with the CM office has been productive as they have directed the District Collector, Raigad, and the Department of Environment, Maharashtra, to take required action immediately. The chairperson of the Local Crisis Group of the Panvel, the Commissioner of PCMC, has assured of a meeting soon.
“We will be following up with the PCMC on a regular basis and ensure that such meetings become a regular thing in the area,”Ranade says.
What is the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986?
The Environment Protection Act, 1986 Act (of the Parliament of India), came into effect in the wake of the Bhopal gas Tragedy or Bhopal Disaster, that killed and maimed thousands. It was a disaster that could have been stopped from happening had there been proper planning and handling of the factory. The act, which came into force on 19th November, 1986, and last amended in 1991, serves the purpose of implementing the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. It calls for the improvement of the human environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property. It is an “umbrella” legislation providing a framework for central government to coordinate with and regulate activities and functions of all central and state authorities within the country, under previous laws, such as the Water Act and the Air Act.