Implement Lal panel report on IOC fire: Modi

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Within days of the fire at Indian Oil Corporation's (IOC) Hazira terminal, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday questioned the central government over the delay in implementing the M.B. Lal Committee's recommendations to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi questioned the central government over the "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 Corporation near Surat on Jan 5", a state government statement here said.

The chief minister expressed serious concern over no public knowledge regarding status of the implementation of 118 recommendations made by the Lal Committee, the statement said.

After the fire at IOC's Jaipur terminal Oct 2009, the central government had set up a seven-member committee under the chairmanship of Lal, former chairman of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, to probe the cause of the fire and recommend a future course of action to prevent such incidents.

Modi wrote that the Hazira plant fire incident has not only caused huge financial loss and disruption of oil supply but also led to the loss of three lives and widespread panic in nearby areas.

He asked the prime minister that if the Lal Committee's recommendations have not been implemented in entirety, the central government should fix the responsibility within a reasonable time-frame so that safety and security of such installations are not compromised.

The panel, in its report submitted in Jan 2010, had suggested that the accident could have been managed if safety procedures in the control room had not become defunct. The backup for emergency shutdown from the control room was not available, and there was a long delay in the emergency response.

Modi in his letter said the latest incident at Hazira posed a serious question mark on the ability of the centre to take effective and timely steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

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

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