Mock earthquake drill ends up in fiasco in Gurgaon

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 14:40 hrs

Gurgaon, Feb 7 (IANS) A mock earthquake drill here failed Thursday because of non-cooperation of other agencies, including an expressway contractor, volunteers have said, and added that the equipments did not work and a hospital failed to provide stretchers for dummy victims.

The two-hour drill of the Gurgaon Disaster Management Authority (GDMA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) ended within five minutes on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway under pressure from heavy traffic.

Barely two dozen volunteers from civil defence, National Service Scheme (NSS) and Haryana Home Guards gathered near 32nd Milestone flyover for the drill.

The siren was sounded as scheduled at 11 a.m. and volunteers diverted the traffic (from Jaipur to Delhi), saying that the flyover got "dangerous cracks during the quake".

"Employees from Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the contractor firm of expressway, stopped them to doing so and asked for the valid authority letter. The service lane could not hold the flow of heavy traffic and it was choked," said a volunteer who was on the spot.

At the intervention of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ravinder Tomar, the traffic was once again diverted to the service lane as per the drill plan.

"But within a few minutes traffic situation started worsening and traffic was allowed to go as routine," said a volunteer on condition of anonymity.

The mock drill was conducted at four locations, including Government College Sector 14 on Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Mini Secretariat near Rajiv Chowk on the expressway, General Hospital, and the fly-over on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway near 32nd Milestone.

The hospital failed to provide even sufficient numbers of stretchers for quake hit dummy victims and patients.

Door and window cutter machines provided by the GDMA and NDMA did not work at the Mini Secretariat. Stone cutting and drill machines also did not start when they were pressed into service.

The rubber pipe that was used by fire brigade to deliver water on the floors of multi-storey Mini Secretariat was leaking.

"Several offices were not evacuated on sounding of siren and even Deputy Commissioner P.C. Meena remained busy in meeting in his office," said an official on condition of anonymity.

A dummy girl victim who was brought from the Government Women's College at Sector 14 was left all alone in the hospital and was not dropped back to her college.

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