The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has proposed to undertake several remedial measures, including a preparation of roadmap by oil marketing companies (OMC) to relocate the pipelines from the thickly populated area in north Chennai where the leakage of oil pipelines contaminated the ground water recently.

The Ministry made this submission in a form of reply affidavit before the National Green Tribunal Bench comprising Justice M.Chockalingam and expert member R.Nagendran, who were hearing an application filed by V.P.Krishnamoorthy of Old Washermanpet who sought various reliefs, including shifting pipelines from the area. During its earlier hearing, the Tribunal had directed the ministry to file a detailed reply on the steps taken by it.

In its reply affidavit filed by S.Seethalakshmi, standing counsel, the ministry said the companies were asked to identify the source of contamination and arrest the source by testing the contaminated water, identifying what type of oil product was leaked. They were also asked to continue the cleaning of all contaminated bore-wells until clear water is found.

The oil companies were advised to explore the possibility of installing the leak of detecting systems in the existing operational pipelines, considering the limitations in implementation of such systems in existing lines. A pressure transmitter should be installed on either end of the line and log should be maintained.

The ministry also advised the OMCs to adopt comprehensive disaster management system with periodic drills and public participation.

“A road may be prepared by oil companies to relocate the pipelines from the thickly populated area wherever is feasible. All tracks of the pipeline have to be identified and all structures illegally erected/ constructed may be removed for approach with the help of local authorities,” the ministry added.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the contents of the ministry’s affidavit, the Tribunal directed the ministry to file an action taken report by October 11.

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