KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Monday criticized the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for not responding to the tragic incident of poisonous gas leakage in Kemari area, which claimed six lives.
Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, President, KCCI while expressing deep concerns over the death of six people and hospitalization of dozens of others on Sunday night in Kemari area due to diffusion poisonous gas in the air, stated that it was really unfortunate and worrisome to see that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which was established with a prime objective to respond to such calamities, neither reached the affected area to rescue and find out the causes nor bothered to give any statement over the tragic incident.
“Is NDMA responsible for responding only to those disasters in which more than 100 casualties occur”, he asked, adding that life of a single innocent person in such a calamity is also equally important hence, the NDMA and others must respond as quickly as possible.
Agha Shahab stressed that NDMA should have rapidly responded to this particular incident in Kemari as soon as the first causality was reported but unfortunately, people kept losing their lives and dozens were hospitalized while the disaster management authority was not seen anywhere around and only a handful of the volunteers from Edhi and Chhipa reached the spot to rescue the affectees.
He further urged that the concerned authorities must thoroughly investigate and find out the exact source of poisonous gas and accordingly take strict measures to avoid such incidents in future. “A Rapid Response Force must be established to deal with such calamities in Karachi as it is not the first time when people lost their lives. People are losing their lives in various incidents including fire eruptions, explosions caused by gas cylinders, buildings’ collapse and fatal road accidents etc. but no dedicated and fully equipped Rapid Response Force exists in the city that always results in raising the number of casualties”, he added.
He was of the opinion that all such incidents remain confined to just summoning a report by the Chief Minister but no concrete step has ever been taken to minimize the loss of precious lives which is really worrisome for business community and the citizens of Karachi.
He said that all the financial resources of Karachi are being utilized to run the entire country but a meager amount was hardly being spent on the city’s development. In response to Kemari incident, Federal Minister for Maritime Ali Zaidi stated that KPT has no resources to deal with such tragedies while the Sindh government and Mayor KMC are also complaining about having limited or no resources. It appears that Karachi, which contributes more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer is constantly being neglected by all three tiers of the government and continues to receive step motherly treatment, he added.