Jaipur oil depot fire rages on, toll 10 (Lead)

November 1st, 2009 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Nov 1 (IANS) Fire in an Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) depot continued to burn for the third day running Sunday in this Rajasthan capital with the toll rising to 10 after recovery of two more bodies, officials said.
The officials said they are waiting for the fuel in the tanks to burn out.

“We are just waiting for the fuel to burn…we cannot do much till then and according our information kerosene in three of the tanks has completely burnt”, a district administration official said.

He said two tanks each of petrol and diesel are on fire and it may take some time for the stocks to burn out.

“Though it is difficult to say but it may take another 12-24 hours more for these products to burn up,” the official said.

The administration along with army has dug ditches around the premises so that the fuel spilling over from these melting tanks does not cross over to adjoining parts of the city and the fire is controlled.

The IOC officials believe it would take over a year to rebuild the depot which has been completely damaged.

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

Three bodies were found from the depot premises Saturday. The five bodies are believed to be of the IOC employees reported missing.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court on a public petition has issued notice to the state government asking for deatils of 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 pollution level.

Sources in the IOC said of the 11 storage tanks that caught fire, four are burning while black smoke is coming out from the remaining eight. Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora visited the accident site Friday with Indian Oil chairman Sarthak Behuri and other senior company officials.

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

People living in the radius of 5 km around the depot are complaining of difficulty in breathing and irritation 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,” said Adesh Kumar, a resident of a nearby colony.

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 different units in terms of building, plant, machinery and raw materials, and will submit its report in seven days.

The association of Sitapura industrial area in the vicinity of the accident site has said that of 1,100 units, 500 have suffered losses.

“Each unit must has suffered a loss of Rs.5-7 lakh due to the fire, and this figure does not include our production loss,” said S.N. Kabra, president Sitapura Industrial Area.

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