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High-level committee to probe IOC fire

india Updated: Oct 30, 2009 14:39 IST
Sachin Saini

Union petroleum minister Murli Deora announced on Friday that a five-member committee will investigate the cause of the massive fire at the Indian oil Corporation (IOC) depot in Sitapura Industrial area, about 20 km from the city.

He also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the deceased, Rs two lakh to those seriously injured and Rs one lakh to those slightly injured in the fire that broke out on Thursday evening and continued to rage on Friday, causing massive damage in nearby areas.

The five-member committee comprises former HPCL chairman MB Lal, principal secretary, petroleum, Govind Sharma, an official from the safety directorate and two others, he said. The committee will submit its report within six weeks to the union petroleum ministry, he said.

Deora arrived in the city early on Saturday and visited the spot of the accident as well as those admitted in SMS Hospital. Later, he held an hour-long closed-door meeting with chief minister Ashok Gehlot, IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria, union rural development minister CP Joshi, state minister of environment and forests Ram Lal Jat and Jaipur MP Mahesh Joshi.

"The committee has been formed to investigate the causes of the fire. Only then will the exact reasons for the accident be known and measures can be taken to ensure that such things do not happen again," said Gehlot.

Deora also said that fire experts from Mathura, Delhi and Mumbai had reached the city and were working to bring the blaze under control. He also assured that shortage of fuel did not occur and such incidents did not recur.

Behuria said the IOC would hold a directorial board meeting on Saturday and set up an internal committee to probe the blaze. He said the extent of the damage would be known only after the committee submitted its report. The committee would assess the damage, alternate arrangement to rebuild the depot and reasons behind the incident.

Behuria said there was no news about six IOC officers who present at the depot at the time of the incident. He added that the fire would be brought under control by tomorrow. Asked about the safety measures at the depot, Behuria said, "The depot is equipped with fire fighting measures like water, sprinklers and extinguishers."

Regarding the rehabilitation and health of the residents living in areas and villages near Sitapura, Gehlot said necessary steps would be taken after the committee submitted its report.