The highly industralised “golden corridor” of Gujarat — between Ankleshwar and Vapi — is a “very dangerous corridor”, housing 35 per cent of the country’s major hazardous units, said J N Singh, chief secretary of the state on Wednesday.
“Gujarat is a highly industrialised state, prone to chemical and industrial hazards. In fact, 35 per cent of the major hazard units of the country are located in the Vapi-Hazira-Dahej-Ankleshwar belt. It is called the golden corridor. But at the same time, it is a very dangerous corridor also, where chemical hazards can take place,” said Singh at the conference organised by National Disaster Management Authority, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), among others.
“From Vapi to Ankleshwar to Ahmedabad, the belt is full of chemical industries and we keep on having all sorts of disaster here and there. Of course, we have managed to see that the disasters are very less. But God forbid, something may happen,” he added.
Singh said that the government maintains round-the-clock surveillance of the belt and has planned certain physical interventions. For instance, in Hazira, the GIDC is coming up with a plan to have a by-pass route to help aid passage of people and aid if a disaster occurs on the main route.
According to the latest socio-economic survey, there are 4,412 industrial units that manufacture chemicals and chemical products in Gujarat. These units employ over three lakh workers, the highest among those employed by the factories functioning in different segments in the state.
“Gujarat has a total of 36,179 factories registered under the factories Act. The state has a chemical port at Dahej. Both Kandla and Mundra also handle good amount of petrochemical products. Pipavav and Dahej also handle additional cargo. That is why petrochemical products are there in Gujarat in a significant way and chemical accidents can certainly occur due to lack of safety measures, technical breakdown or human error. It is, therefore, important to initiate a series of certain training programmes to actually minimise disaster,” he added.
At the event, Lieutenant General Dr J R Bhardwaj, chairman of Chemical and Industrial Disaster Management (CIDM) Board, said Gujarat hosts two-third of the total chemical industries in the country.