The fire in the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) depot that has been raging since Oct 29 might finally abate by Wednesday evening, officials said.
The fire at the depot in Sitapura, about 20 km from here, broke out last Thursday, killing 11 people and injuring over 150. It seems to be abating now, with only two of the 11 tanks ablaze, said Jaipur District Collector Kuldeep Ranka.
“The fire is raging now in two tanks," Ranka told IANS, adding that the fuel in one of the tanks had almost burnt out while the blaze in the other tank should be extinguished by late Wednesday.
“Once the fire is extinguished we will start our search operations inside the premises,” Ranka said.
The district administration is planning to allow resumption of work in industrial units situated within a 500 metre radius of the depot. However, movement in a small area close to the fire would be restricted, an official added.
The Sitapura Industrial Association has rejected the relief package offered by the state government.
According to the association, of the 1,100 units situated in the area, 500 have suffered losses ranging from Rs.500,000 to Rs.700,000 each.
“In some of the units, losses are in millions," said S.N. Kabra, association president.
“We totally reject the package offered by the state government. Offering rebates in the form of waiver of VAT collection, service tax and fire tax means nothing to us,” Kabra added.
Residents of the area have filed over 70 police complaints accusing the IOC of criminal negligence.
"We received 70 complaints yesterday. Based on these complaints, we have filed a single FIR (first information report) against IOC," a police official said.
Residents have been complaining of lack of water and electricity, cut off since Thursday evening by the administration.
“We are not getting the required water… we have to depend on tankers… life has certainly become difficult," said Ashok Jain, a resident of a colony near the depot.
“We are supplying water through tankers as electricity has been cut. We are trying our best to provide required water to the residents," an official explained.
Compounding the woes, a dark cloud of smoke has covered the area. People have been complaining of difficulty in breathing and itching in the eyes.
The state pollution control board is monitoring the air pollution level. The department of environment has also constituted a panel to assess the impact of the fire. It will submit its report by Nov 15.