Oil depot inferno rages

Oil depot inferno rages

Flames engulf the IOC depot in Jaipur on Friday.  AFPThe blaze is so intense that neither fire-fighters nor Army personnel could get anywhere near the inferno to douze the flames.

Six IOC officials are still said to be missing while official sources have so far confirmed only five deaths. Superintendent of police Biju Joseph George said as of now 42 people have been admitted to different hospitals of the city with burns sustained when the fire and explosions broke out on Thursday evening.

This has been the third major blaze in Rajasthan since 2000. The huge fire follows the major blaze at Bharatpur’s Army ammunition depot on April 28, 2000, and the Bikaner Army Range fire on May 2, 2002.
 In the wake of the devastating IOC depot fire, the Rajasthan government on Friday decided to shift oil depots situated in densely populated localities beyond the city’s limits and procure spiral ladder fire-fighter vans to deal with such situations in the future.

Fire continues to rage in at least seven containers and it is feared the blaze may take another 24-36 hours to die down completely. IOC officials or fire fighters are likely to be unable to approach the premises till the entire fuel stock burns out, a fact confirmed by Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora who visited Jaipur on Friday morning.

He returned to Delhi after meeting Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and other officials.
The Sitapura industrial area, housing major factories and industrial units of the city, wore a deserted look. The worst-affected units are those closest to the IOC depot like Genus Electricity, JWS Foods, Florence Foods, Morani Motors and Trivera Motors.

The Chevorlet workshop-cum-showroom also sustained severe loss in Thursday’s explosion, causing damage to new automobiles, while windows, false ceilings and shutters of almost 80 per cent manufacturing units in the area were affected, including Genpact, Infosys and other IT complexes.

Sitapura Industrial Association chairman Naresh Kandoi told Deccan Herald that the loss of property could go up to Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore since 80 per cent of the factories and offices situated within a radius of half-a-kilometre sustained infrastructure damage following the massive explosion. Power supply in the whole industrial area, which was disconnected as a matter of caution after the explosion, was restored in phase three of the industrial park, covering gems, jewellery and Export Promotion Industrial Park units.

Army jawans, though unable to contain the fire, are doing intensive patrolling in the area, while the police are trying their best to prevent anti-social elements from committing theft and other offences.
Jivan and Deepak, working at a diamond tool unit at Sitapura, said thefts were reported from some units  after workers escaped in panic, leaving the factories unlocked.

The district administration is making repeated appeals to people to stay away from the affected areas.
Relief operations are in full swing with the help of voluntary agencies. At least ten villages have been evacuated and people shifted to safer places. Some temples are serving as resting camps for the needy.

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