Disaster drill falls flat, creates chaos on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway

A mock earthquake drill here failed on 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 am 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 flyover 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.

“Several offices were not evacuated on soundings of siren and even deputy commissioner P C Meena remained busy in meeting in his office,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.

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