GAIL gas pipeline burst claims 15 lives in AP

Ch.R.S. Sarma Kakinada | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 27, 2014

Fire at the blast site of GAIL gas pipeline leak at Nagaram village in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday. Special Arrangment   -  Special Arrangment;THE HINDU



Gas began leaking on Thursday night, spread over area; committee to probe cause

Fifteen people were killed and 18 injured when a fire broke out in Nagaram village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Friday morning after gas leaking from a pipeline owned by state-owned gas transporter GAIL caught fire and exploded.

The injured are undergoing treatment in private hospitals in Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Amalapuram. Five are stated to be in a critical condition.

The Union Government said a high-level inquiry committee has been constituted to probe the accident.

Gas from the pipeline, which is near ONGC’s Tatipaka mini-refinery and a gas collecting station, began leaking on Thursday night and spread over the area and caught fire when a tea vendor lit a stove at around 5 am on Friday.

The impact was devastating as the flames spread over a 1 km radius, catching people in the vicinity unawares. Several of them rushed out of their houses hearing the explosion were engulfed in the flames.

Five people died at the tea stall and several others close-by. The injured were taken to a private hospital in Amalapuram. Some, in critical condition, were later shifted to Kakinada for treatment at another private hospital.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the accident spot late in the afternoon.

They were met by a hostile crowd, which demanded that the gas collection station and ONGC's mini-refinery be shifted out of the village.

Constant danger

The villagers told the Chief Minister and the Union Minister that their lives were in constant danger and that the operations of ONGC and the GAIL in the vicinity had become “a curse” for them.

Naidu and Pradhan pacified the people, assuring them that appropriate steps would be taken.

Later, at a press meet, they announced an ex gratia of ₹25 lakh to the next of kin of those who died, and ₹5 lakh to those who suffered permanent disability.

GAIL, the villagers were assured, would adopt Nagaram and develop it as a model village. A high-level committee would probe the accident and measures would be taken to prevent such incidents in future, said the Union Minister.

Published on June 27, 2014
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