Indian Oil depot fire still on, death toll 10

November 1st, 2009 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Nov 1 (IANS) Flames continued to leap from an Indian Oil depot in Jaipur Sunday, four days after it caught fire leaving 10 people killed and 150 others injured. Officials said the fire is likely to die out by the evening or Monday morning as most of the oil stored in the huge tanks has burnt out.
The death toll in the major fire that broke out in Indian Oil Corporation’s depot in Sitapura near here on Thursday touched 10 with the recovery of two more bodies Sunday.

Three bodies were found from the depot premises Saturday.

“We recovered two charred bodies from the fire site today (Sunday),” Pradeep Sen, state home secretary, told IANS.

The five bodies are believed to be of the six IOC employees who were reported missing.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court on a public suit has issued notice to the state government seeking a reply on the efforts being made to extinguish the fire.

A dark cloud of smoke has covered the area, making breathing difficult. The state pollution control board is monitoring the air pollution level.

Sources in the IOC said of the 11 storage tanks that caught fire, three are burning while black smoke is coming out from the remaining eight.

Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora visited the accident site Friday along with Indian Oil chairman Sarthak Behuri and other senior company officials.

The depot has about 50,000 kilolitres of petroleum products, worth about Rs.150-200 crore.

People living in a vicinity of 5 km around the depot are complaining of difficulty in breathing and itching in the eyes.

“Since Friday night I have been having problems in breathing… I complained to my doctor and he told me it is because of the smoke in the air,” Adesh Kumar, a resident of a nearby colony said.

The state government has set up two committees to assess the damage to industrial units and nearby villages.

One of the committees will assess the damage caused to the different units in terms of building, plant, machinery and raw material and submit its report in seven days.

The association of Sitapura industrial area has said that of 1,100 units, 500 have suffered losses.

“Each units must have suffered a loss of Rs 500,000-700,000 due to the fire, and this figure does not include our production loss,” S.N. Kabra, president Sitapura Industrial Area, said.

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