Two senior officials of Gas Authority of India Ltd (Gail) have been suspended following the explosion at Nagaram village in East Godavari district even as the toll in the tragedy rose to 20 on Sunday afternoon.
Gail Director (Projects) Ashutosh Karnatak said two officers of general manager cadre, in charge of operations at Nagaram, were suspended.
Giving a clean chit to lower-level staff, the director said the damage would have been worse if they had not reacted in time.
The Gail director, who came to Kakinada on Sunday to hand over compensation cheques to District Collector Neetu Kumari Prasad, said, “We are paying Rs 20 lakh to the kin of each of those killed in the blast and Rs 50,000 for the injured.”
He also assured the district administration that the Gail would build group housing for those who have lost everything in the blast.
He refuted allegations that the pipeline was rusted and old. “The pipes have a life of 25 years, and these were laid only 15 years ago.” He said a high-level committee, which visited the site on Saturday, would throw light on this issue.
Meanwhile, three more injured persons succumbed to burns at a private hospital in Kakinada, taking the toll in the incident to 20. Five others are still in a critical condition. The pipeline, which caught fire and exploded, claimed 15 lives on the spot and injured 27.