Proactive driver plugs LPG tanker leak, saves thousands near Kulti
He pleaded with the police to take him to the spot and allow him to try his hand to fix the valve.kolkata Updated: Aug 30, 2016 11:32 IST
Damodar Yadav, 42, a resident of Joynagar in Kodarma, Jharkhand and a driver of gas carrier vehicles, is one of those millions of ordinary mortals who are destined to live a tough life full of drudgery and without any moments of glory. On Monday morning, however, Yadav turned into a hero to thousands of residents at Chowringhee near Kulti when he fixed a malfunctioning valve of a gas tanker from which the highly infammable gas was gushing out posing grave danger to two railway stations and to the human habitation nearby.
Around 10:25 on Monday morning, Burdwan police received the information that a gas tanker was leaking at Chowringhee near Kulti. The spot was aabout 250 km from Kolkata.
Inspector-in-charge of the local outpost, Mainul Haque sprung to his feet and rushed to the spot only to find his worst apprehension turn true -- it was an LPG tanker and gas was leaking in a jet after a locking valve developed a snag.
The tanker that was travelling from Haldia to Lucknow was carrying 17,500 litres of gas and was a veritable ticking bomb. Though the spot where the tanker was standing was empty, there was human habitation just about a km away. Two railway stations, Salanpur and Sitarampur, were also close by.
Its driver pleaded helplessness to the police and said he could not fix the snag. Sensing great danger, police began announcing on microphones that everybody, at homes, shops and eateries, should turn off ovens.
About 2 km away Yadav was resting at a dhaba when he heard the announcement and approached the police.
“Initially police were not allowing me to go. After much convincing that I can fix the tanker quickly, they took me to the spot,” Yadav told HT.
Showing great presence of mind, he took spare “washers” from his own tanker and fixed the leak by 11:15 ending the agony of the administration. “There was a problem with the valve,” said Yadav.
“We had to close the national highway for about 2 hours,” said additional commissioner of police, Agniswar Chatterjee.
Alerted by the police, officials from ECL, NHAI and IOC rushed to the spot. By then, Yadav had fixed the tanker.
“When we were completely helpless, this person emerged out of the blue. He was almost god sent,” Moinul Haque, inspector in charge of Chowringhee outpost told HT a few hours after the incident with gratitude still dripping from his voice.
When this correspondent spoke to Yadav, he was driving a tanker towards Haldia. But the man who could speak only broken Bengali, refused to even send his photo, saying he has done his duty.
He had taken training at Vizag on handling such emergency situations. Yadav has been a driver of tankers for the past 12 years.