The Union Environment and Forests Ministry will take up with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas the issue of according systemic protocol for monitoring pipelines to prevent oil spill, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Tuesday.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a report in The Hindu on the oil spill from an ONGC pipeline destroying paddy fields for the third consecutive year in Nagapattinam, she arrived here to inspect and ascertain the facts from the farmers.

The extensive operations of the ONGC, with over 30,000 km of pipeline in the country and over 675 km in the State, must be backed by safety protocols to address issues of spills, leaks and corrosion.

“Not a single life should be lost or single acre rendered waste due to lack of safety protocols.”

It was inconsequential if the organisation concerned was a PSU or a private organisation, she said.

Ms. Natarajan said that soil reclamation of sullied fields was a serious issue and this would also be placed before the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

“As the Environment Ministry, we will also have to step up our monitoring protocols that we exercise stringently while granting environment clearance for a project.”

Referring to industrial control systems such as SCADA (Supervisory and Control Date Acquisition), Ms. Natarajan said international practices mandated computerised pressure surveillance, and such a system would have be put in place when thousands of kilometres of pipelines passed through natural assets.


Oil spill on fields leaves farmers on edgeNovember 4, 2012