The government has decided to act tough on pilferage and sabotage of the crude oil/product pipeline that have often seen assaults by miscreants.
A set of far reaching changes are being considered in the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline Act, 1962, to provide for punitive punishment up to 10 years on sabotage and pilferage of the pipelines. The amendment also calls for making such offences cognisable and non-bailable so as to make law a severe deterrent.
“Whoever makes or causes to be made any connection with or removes, displaces, damages, or destroys any pipeline for the purposes of committing theft, sabotage, or otherwise, or inserts any artificial device to extract petroleum product/minerals from such pipeline or disrupts supplies being made through the pipeline shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for term which may extend up to 10 years,” states an amendment proposed.
To ensure unambiguous determination of the severity of punishment and intention to deal with sabotage and pilferage at pipelines it has been suggested that in absence “of special and adequate reasons to be mentioned in the judgment of the court the punishment shall not be less than three years in the case of first conviction and five years for the second or subsequent offence”.
The changes in the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline Act also seeks to authorise the police to investigate and have powers as applicable under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Petroleum Federation of India, an apex industry body, has raised the issue of pilferage and sabotage with the government and pointed out that in recent past attempts at pilferage has substantially gone up due to inadequacies in the existing law.