‘Hazmat’ vehicles to help Gujarat fight Bhopal-type chemical disastershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/hazmat-vehicles-to-help-gujarat-fight-bhopaltype-chemical-disasters/

‘Hazmat’ vehicles to help Gujarat fight Bhopal-type chemical disasters

The presence of a large number of chemical units in Gujarat poses a threat to the general public and environment.

The presence of a large number of chemical units in Gujarat poses a threat to the general public and environment. Alarmed at the prospect of a chemical disaster,the state government has now decided to purchase 10 sophisticated Hazmat vehicles at a cost of Rs 4 crore each from the international market.

A senior official of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) said such ultra-modern vehicles are manufactured in the US,Austria,Taiwan and Finland and global tenders for their purchase have already been issued.

He was speaking on the sidelines of Monday’s function where Chief Minister Narendra Modi dedicated 126 mini-fire tenders and 135 water browsers to civic bodies in the state.

At the same event,seven multi-functional rescue vehicles were given to seven municipal corporations in the state.

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They were purchased under a World Bank-aided project and involved a total cost of Rs 163 crore,the official said.

The official said “Hazmat” vehicles will help fight even a “Bhopal-like tragedy”. “Gujarat is a chemical hub and about 35 per cent of the hazardous units of the country are located here,” he said.

In the event of a chemical disaster,the persons sitting inside the sealed “Hazmat” vehicle can fight a blaze raging at 800 to 900 degree Centigrade and bring the situation under control.

Such vehicles will be placed at emergency response centres in Ahmedabad,Bharuch,Hazira (Surat) and Vapi,considered to be the “chemical hubs” in Gujarat.

The GSDMA official said the government has also decided to purchase hydraulic platforms for the seven municipal corporations in the state.

Each will cost about Rs two crore,and will have a capacity to reach as high as 54 metres in case of disasters. Besides,modern Multi-functional equipment with the ability to detect a person buried beneath 10 metres of debris will also be procured.

Over 100 trained personnel will be deployed at the emergency response centres in Rajkot,Gandhidham,Vadodara,Surat and Raisan (between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar) to operate the equipment,he added.

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Earlier at the function,Modi said his government was committed to provide safety to the general public through its impeccable disaster management apparatus. “Gujarat has taken an initiative to equip local self-government bodies with ultra-modern equipment to fight any disasters – man-made or natural — in any part of the state,” he said.