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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

BPCL refinery blast in Mumbai: Thousands of project-affected people fear for their safety

mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2018 00:35 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Smoke billows from the BPCL refinery in Mumbai.
Smoke billows from the BPCL refinery in Mumbai.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
         

The massive blast and resultant fire in a Bharat Petroleum Corp Limited (BPCL) plant at Chembur on Wednesday has left residents of neighbouring Mahul worried.

The BPCL refinery is surrounded by rehabilitation tenements for project-affected people (PAP) (those who lost their homes to various projects) and the tremors were felt up to 4km from the site.

The blast rocked their homes, with most rushing out thinking it was an earthquake.

“My family thought the building would collapse any moment. All buildings in the area were vacated within minutes. We are tired of telling the authorities to shift us elsewhere. The air and water pollution from refineries and chemical plants has taken a toll on our health. We want our homes back. We will start a protest for it,” said Ganesh Patil, one of the residents of the units who was shifted from Bhandup.

The BMC has more than 16,000 tenements for PAPs in Mahul. Most shifted residents have been complaining of skin problems, hair loss and breathing issues.

Earlier, the PAP committee had filed a petition in the Bombay high court complaining the area is not fit for habitation owing to the pollution.

Mehazabeen Shaikh, another resident of PAP units, said, “Apart from the health problems, there is no proper public transport facility. This place is nearly 7km away from the nearest Chembur station. Our children were shifted here in the middle of the academic year and faced a lot of issues in the start.”

In 2016, a boiler blast at Rashtriya Chemical Fertiliser plant at Chembur killed three people and injured three others. The blast took place few meters away from the BPCL refinery plant.