Unlike natural disasters like cyclone, flood, tsunami; chemical and industrial disasters are non inevitable, and hence is the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ as the standard for disaster prevention. However, human errors – operational dimensions, and availability of relevant information during various phases of disaster management have emerged as critical areas of concern. Proper decisions starting from site selection, public participation in clearance, industrial layout planning, disaster mitigation measures, on-site and off-site emergency coordination planning play key roles in furthering the objectives of a comprehensive framework of disaster management at local and district level.
Factories Act and Environmental legislations viz. Environmental Protection Act, Public Liability Act, and rules there under prescribe the planning, preparedness and response in chemical emergencies, whereas Disaster Management Act (2005) provided a holistic framework for multi-hazard disaster management at various levels. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been entrusted the responsibility of developing policies and guidelines on various aspects of disaster management. Ministry of Environment & Forests has been identified as a nodal agency for management of chemical disasters in the country. Ministry of Labour & Employment through its organization at state level on industrial safety and/or factories and boilers provide a framework for implementation and monitoring at state, district and sub-district levels.
National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has been mandated under the Disaster Management Act for capacity building including training, research, documentation and policy advocacy on all aspects of disaster management. In this context, a training module on Chemical (Industrial) Disaster Management has been developed by the institute for use by different institutions dealing with disaster management in the country at various levels. I hope the initiative of the institute shall be of significant contribution in advancing the goal of national capacity development on disaster management.