Why wells in Satara are full of petrol

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on March 03, 2021

Thieves drill holes in HPCL piepline; contaminated water damages crops

Farmers in the Saswad village in Satara district were surprised to see the colour of water in their wells changing and were shocked when they realised that the wells were full of petrol. Jowar and other crops that received water from these wells were damaged. Fish and birds had also died.

The smell of petrol was all over the area, and the villagers were clueless about the reason. Finally, the Satara police detected that unidentified people had drilled a hole in the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) pipeline to siphon off petrol.

With petrol prices soaring, the thieves had taken away petrol from the pipeline. The petrol gushing out from the hole had also percolated into the wells. There is water scarcity in many villages in the locality. With the wells filled with petrol, villagers are finding it difficult to get water for drinking and for the crops.

According to reports, there was about 4-inch layer of petrol in the wells and the administration was removing the petrol using pumps and tankers. The area has been sealed.

“There was an attempt of theft and 2,000-litre petrol spill over the area. The police are probing the matter, and no arrests have been made yet,” Satara Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Bansal told BusinessLine.

HPCL takes petrol to its depot using pipelines, and the Mumbai-Solapur line passes through the Satara area. The hole had been drilled in a remote area surrounded by hillocks and fields.

HPLC personnel who registered the FIR told BusinessLine that on February 23, the company got an alarm through the system about the breach in the supply and company officials immediately reached the spot. By then petrol had spread all over the area.

However, farmers came to know about it only yesterday. Though the FIR was filed last month, the incident was not revealed to the media or the public. The HPCL official said that the company had repaired the pipeline.

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Published on March 03, 2021
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