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Thursday, July 5, 2012

BIG PLANS Code of conduct to curb disaster tourism

Mumbai: Concerned over the phenomenon of disaster tourism in the city, the state security council on Thursday discussed the feasibility of evolving a strict code of conduct to stop the practice. 

    Opposition leader in the legislative council suggested a12-hour "no entry" buffer after any disaster; dignitaries, including politicians, should not be allowed at the affected spot during this period. Vinod Tawde said a four-hour window could then be left open for visits by dignitaries, followed by another "no entry" phase. 
    The suggestion was well received by other members at the meeting, which was headed by chief minister Prithvi
raj Chavan. The media's role in the coverage of disasters was also discussed. 
    The recent Mantralaya fire episode was also raised. Mumbai sheriff Indu Shahani, convener of the education and awareness sub-group of the council, spoke about the need to ensure periodic fire 

and evacuation drills in schools, colleges and malls. Chavan said "fire and evacuation drills in such places would be the government's focus areas". 
    Formed in the aftermath of the 26/11 tragedy and expected to meet once in three months, the council had met only thrice so far. With nongovernment members ex
pressing their dissatisfaction, Chavan assured them that there would be periodic meetings of the council and its sub-groups. 
    Presentations were made on the steps taken based on the recommendations of the Ram Pradhan panel formed after 26/11. Force One chief Sadanand Date also made a presentation on its achievements and plans. Tawde raised the issue of non-maintenance of speedboats and creation of additional posts recommended by the committee. 
    Additional chief secretary (home) Amitabh Rajan said the issue of speedboats would be resolved within three months. Chavan said the CCTV plan was held back due to a technical hitch, which would be overcome soon.

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