A three-member family, comprising of a couple and their seven-year old daughter, were killed and at least 12 others injured when an entire tea garden labourers’ colony caught fire after a gas-tanker overturned on National Highway 15 in upper Assam on Monday night. The incident occurred after gas leaking from an over-turned tanker spread to the labour lines of the tea garden huts, with one family reduced to ashes in their sleep. The dead have been identified as Bimal Bhuyan, his wife Lotika Bhuyan and their seven-year old daughter Jontora.
“The tanker (No GJ-12AU-6782) containing propylene was on its way from Gujarat to the Brahmaputra Crackers and Polymers Ltd near Dibrugarh when it overturned near Rangaliting tea estate at around 11:30 PM on Monday night. Eye-witnesses said the entire labour line comprising of 12 houses almost immediately caught fire, leading to three deaths and several injuries,” Golaghat additional SP Dhrubajyoti Bora said.
Eight of the 12 persons who sustained serious burn injuries were admitted to the Jorhat Medical College Hospital, with additional SP Bora saying one person was later sent to the Assam Medical College Hospital in Dibrugarh. A number of livestock including cattle, pigs and goats also perished in the devastating fire, he said.While the police have registered a case, the driver and helpers of the tanker managed to escape.
While the Assam government on Tuesday announced payment of ex gratia of Rs four lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal dispatched revenue minister Pallab Lochan Das and MLAs Mrinal Saikia and Teras Gowala to Rangamati. Agriculture minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora too visited the place on Tuesday.