Panel initiates probe into GAIL pipeline fire

Panel initiates probe into GAIL pipeline fire

The Centre-appointed committee today launched its probe into the GAIL pipeline fire tragedy in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh that has claimed 16 lives.

Informing that the committee has initiated the process to collect samples from the site, R K Singh, who heads the high-level probe panel, expressed confidence that in a couple of days they would be able to throw some light on the cause of the mishap.

"Reasons (for the fire-blast)....we are yet to establish...we are looking at different possibilities. But as of now we are not able to come to a specific reason," Singh, who is the Joint Secretary (Refineries) in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said after a site inspection.

"My people will take the soil samples and pipe samples to check the strength of the metal, whether there was loss of thickness. We would be able to come to some conclusion in a day or two," he said.

"As of now it is not possible...we had just had a look at the site...some tests have to be done at lab and only after that we will be able to conclude," he said.

The committee comprises officials of Oil Industry Safety Directorate, NDMA and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as members.

"If there is any negligence proven (vis-a-vis the accident) in the inquiry, severe action will be taken against the officials concerned. That is why this inquiry team has come for," Singh said.
Sixteen residents of Nagaram died of burn injuries after a leakage in GAIL pipeline passing through the village, leading to fire and explosion that also left at least 20 others injured.

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