Special Correspondent

Officials forced to turn their attention towards VIPs instead of engaging themselves in rescue work

HYDERABAD: The heavy presence of VIPs and media personnel after the flyover crashed at Panjagutta here recently came in for severe criticism for obstructing rescue operations at a round-table conference on disaster management, preparedness and response on Saturday. The conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) saw several speakers complaining that the officials were forced to turn their attention towards the VIPs instead of engaging themselves in rescue work within minutes of the mishap. K. Dhananjaya Reddy, Additional Commissioner (Planning and Projects) of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, said the presence of VIPs and media delayed rescue operations by two hours. There was only one crane available to remove the girders.V.S.K. Kaumudi, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), was also sore that the public refused to give way to an ambulance and a police jeep that proceeded to the scene of mishap. Priyadarshini, Additional Commissioner, Disaster Management, said the police failed to cordon off the area around the site. Gandhi Hospital Superintendent B. Balaraju felt corporate hospitals should be allowed to conduct post-mortem examination. Osmania General Hospital Superintendent Girish Narayan bemoaned that ambulances could not rush patients because of encroachments. K. Jagannadha Rao, General Manager, Yashoda Hospital, said the hospitals faced heavy trespassing which affected treatment. Pradeep Dhobale, Chairman, State unit of CII, spoke.