The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has served notice to the Oil and Natural Gas plant at Hazira to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1 crore over the environmental damage caused by a blast in the plant recently.
The terminal at Hazira, Surat city, purifies gas received from Mumbai high seas and supplies to various states.
On September 24, three powerful blasts took place at the terminal, reportedly due to a leakage in the 36-inch gas pipeline coming from Bombay off shore. The impact of the blast was felt in around five-kilometre radius.
The Kantha Vibhag, Yuva Koli Samaj, Parivartan Trust, submitted a complaint to Union Environment and Forest Minister, Prakash Javadekar, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Surat district collector.
In the complaint, the Parivartan Trust members demanded an inquiry by experts into the into the incident and compensation for the damage caused to environment and properties.
The CPCB had ordered GPCB to carry out probe into the incident and take appropriate steps.
The GPCB team submitted a report, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, mentioning that emission of various gases polluted air in the surrounding areas and contaminated water generated from controlling the fire was discharged into the storm water drains that flow into the Tapi river.
Senior scientific officer of GPCB Gandhinagar, GB Vasavda, issued notice under 31A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 to ONGCC Hazira, ordering them to deposit Rs 1 crore as interim environment damage compensation to GPCB, Gandhinagar.
In the notice, the GPCB mentioned that its team had visited the accident site on September 24. “Heavy dense emission occurred… followed by fire casuing severe air pollution and odour nuisance. Heavy VOC emission occurred in the area of the incident location (Gas Terminal station), during the incidence. Contaminated water generated from the controlling of fire is discharged in storm water drainage which is leading to river Tapi (sic),” the notice said.
“Pay Rs 1 crore, as interim environment damage compensation by RTGS/NEFT immediately in the bank account of GPCB of State Bank of India (sic),” it noted.
The notice also mentioned that the GPCB had advised the ONGC Hazira to adopt adequate safety measures to avoid such incidents in future.
Talking to The Indian Express, Parivartan Trust president Prakash Contractor said, “We are satisfied with the steps taken by GPCB and we request the authorities to carry out a survey in the nearby areas to find out how many houses were affected by the blast and compensate them…”
ONGC officials at Hazira did not respond.