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Saturday, June 28, 2014

massive blaze in GAIL pipeline in East Godavari kills 15..

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had to cut short his Delhi visit and rush back to his state – sad, because of  a blast and fire in a gas pipeline  that reportedly killed 14 people on 27th June 14 morning.  It is reported that Mr Naidu cancelled all his scheduled meetings on Friday to leave for the accident site in East Godavari district.   NDTV quotes Mr Naidu as saying that  a thorough probe would be ordered and if anybody was found responsible for negligence, action would be taken against him."Wealth creation and development is important but at the same time safety is also important. All lapses have to be corrected," he told reporters in Delhi.

Mr Naidu was on a two-day visit to the national capital to meet the central ministers to discuss various development proposals mooted for the state as part of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.  You might have heard the song ‘aa ante Amalapuram’ – now in Maximum (Hindi Movie) – earlier a rage when it first cast in 2004 Telegu film Arya.  Amalapuram is a town, municipality and revenue division in East Godavari district known for its picturesque surroundings.  Situated at around 60 kms from Rajahmundry, it is in Konaseema delta of Godavari river.  The delta's black cotton soil is very fertile and crops and one can see rows of coconut trees.

The calm place with many temples is again in wrong reasons as 15 people are feared killed and 18 injured in a massive blaze at GAIL pipeline in Andhra.  Local and International newspapers report that huge flames, which leapt from the pipeline of state-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), burned down whatever stood in its path. Most of the victims are said to be locals of Nagaram village. According to media reports, the blast took place when a tea vendor across the road lit his stove at 5 am. The blaze spread quickly in the vicinity, giving little time to the victims to escape in its wake. Besides building structures, the fire destroyed 10 acres of coconut grove.

Later, angry locals alleged that GAIL officials did not heed to their warning that a gas leak had taken place in the village. There reportedly some damage arising out of the angry belting of the locals too.  Energy Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu have ordered an inquiry into the blast and fire.   The one which went on flames is reportedly a  state-owned gas pipeline.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia relief of  Rs.2 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in the inferno. "My thoughts with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL Pipeline fire in AP. Prayers with the injured. I have spoken to the Petroleum Minister, Cabinet Secretary & GAIL Chairman and asked them to ensure immediate relief at the accident site," Modi said. The inquiry committee will be headed by a joint secretary in the Petroleum Ministry and will have officials of Oil Industry Safety Directorate, NDMA and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as members.

The Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD), under the Petroleum Ministry, carries out safety audits of oil and gas installations, besides formulating and standardising procedures and guidelines for design, operation and maintenance.  It is reported that  OISD is not a statutory authority. ONGC director (onshore) Ashok Varma is quoted as saying that the fire occurred a few hundred metres from ONGCss Tatipaka Refinery at Nagaram village in Amalapuram Mandal.

Fires in oil installations especially in Krishna Godavari basin is not new … I remember a ‘blow-out’ that occurred in Pasaralapudi in Amalapuram, way back in 1995 …. More  of that later in a separate post.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th June 2014.

News credit : NDTV and Daily Mail.. photo credit – Daily Mail.

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