Dharmendra Pradhan orders probe into Bhubaneswar fuel station blast
Nine persons were injured, two of them critical, in the blast. Portions of Raj Bhawan and several houses in the vicinity were damaged under the impact of the massive explosion
BHUBANESWAR: Union minister of petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan ordered a probe into the explosion and fire at a fuel station near Raj Bhawan here on Wednesday. It coincided with the Commissionerate police registering a criminal case to probe the tragedy. Nine persons were injured, two of them critical, in the blast. Portions of Raj Bhawan and several houses in the vicinity were damaged under the impact of the massive explosion. “I have asked the secretary of petroleum and natural gas to probe the case. The secretary would submit the inquiry report after discussing with senior officers of the state government and Indian Oil,” Pradhan tweeted. While the exact cause of the fire at the auto LPG dispensing station was being inquired by the police and fire officials, sources said the explosion occurred when the hazardous gas was being unloaded from a tanker to the gas canisters at the fuel pump. “The unloading of gas from tanker to the canisters is a highly risky and technical affair. A small mistake or mishandling of the gas unloading process can cause fire,” a petroleum expert said.
Commissioner of police Sudhanshu Sarangi said the police have suo-moto registered a case. “We will investigate to find out the cause of the explosion and whether it happened due to anybody’s negligence,” Sarangi said. Sources said the police personnel would seek a report from the petroleum and explosives safety organization (PESO), which provides license to fuel pumps after tight scrutiny of the fire safety measures.
Fire services directorate said they would submit a fire incident report to the government. “Our local office will prepare a report on the initial cause of the accident and find out whether the fire extinguishers at the fuel pump had the validity period. Though PESO largely looks after the safety aspects of fuel pumps, we will also conduct inspection of other fuel pumps to check their fire safety compliance,” director general of police (fire services) Satyajit Mohanty said. Mohanty said the Indian Oil engineers were engaged to decant the petrol, diesel and CNG from the pump site to a safe place.
Petroleum dealers said adequate safety measures should be taken at fuel pumps that deal with CNG and auto LPG. Currently, Bhubaneswar has only two fuel pumps where auto LPG dispensing stations are available. “Petrol/diesel and gas are two separate subjects. Dealers have nothing to do with installation and maintenance of the gas filling units. Engineers of the companies are stationed at pumps where such facilities are available.