GAIL gas leak sets off panic, hits traffic

GAIL team inspects the spot were a pipeline was damaged at Garudacharpalya. DH Photo by Janardhan B K

Tension gripped commuters and residents on ITPL Main Road in Garudacharpalya after inflammable gas started leaking from a pipeline that was damaged by a Metro construction earth mover on Monday morning.

The incident happened around 4 am near a Decathlon outlet when the earth mover digging in the area for construction of a pillar scraped a part of the 8-inch diameter steel pipe laid by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), leading to the leak of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Namma Metro labourers aborted the work immediately and informed their seniors. A passerby informed the fire control room around 4.20 am after he smelt gas, fire officials said. The police control room was also alerted subsequently.

ASI Vijay Kumar from K R Puram traffic division and three subordinates rushed to the spot and stopped traffic movement from both directions. “As it was early morning, the vehicular movement was less,” a senior police officer said.

The fire and emergency services reached the spot around 4.40 am and cordoned off the area within a radius of 500 metres from the spot. The personnel made a mud paste and dabbed it on the damaged steel pipe.

Policemen formed teams to instruct commuters to switch off ignition as a precautionary measure. Traffic was disrupted for nearly three hours.

Vehicles were redirected at the Y-junction between Graphite India and Hoodi junctions. They were allowed to go towards Old Madras Road and Outer Ring Road through Lowry Down junction.

A technical team from GAIL rushed to the spot for an inspection. Two groups of officials went to GAIL’s sub-lines near K R Puram railway station and Phoenix Mall to turn off the gas flow.

“The leakage stopped around 7.40 am, after which we cleared the area for GAIL authorities to fix the damage,” said Regional Fire Officer M R Narasimhamurthy. Traffic movement was restored even as peak hour traffic set in, police said.

BMRCL didn’t see pipe

BMRCL managing director Ajay Seth said the pipeline was not found in the test trenching but that they will take steps to ensure such accidents do not repeat. “It was an accidental damage. In order to prevent any such occurrence in future, the BMRCL is obtaining gas network alignment from GAIL in all Metro reaches. We will superimpose them with Metro alignment and ensure removal of any potential conflict before taking up any construction,” he said.

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