To evaluate safety measures being taken by domestic and multinational firms in the oil and gas sector, in the wake of the fire at an Indian Oil Corporation depot in Jaipur, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has called a meeting of these companies on November 3.
Companies such as Shell, British Gas and Cairn Energy will also be asked to share their experience on safety procedures adopted by them.
“It is our responsibility to maintain highest safety standards at our oil installations, round the clock,” Deora said.
On Monday, with the intensity of the blaze lessening, residents of villages near the oil depot that has been billowing thick smoke for the past four days reported deposition of thin flakes of carbon over the fields.
With lakhs of litres of fuel going up, there were concerns that fumes could lead to health and environmental hazards.
But experts have dismissed fears of a long-term impact on the environment or on people’s health.
“When the fire broke out on Thursday night, the temperature was high and the gases and particles were dispersing in the atmosphere. But now the reduced intensity of flames is causing carbon particles to fall on the ground,” said Mukesh Sharma, scientific officer with the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board. “The impact of harmful gases would be felt only if people had long-term exposure to them. However, the smoke is now dispersing.”