Andhra Pradesh

Villagers in grip of fear as gas leaks from pipeline at Uppudi

Rescue personnel at Uppudi village on Sunday.

Rescue personnel at Uppudi village on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: S. RAMBABU

Those residing within 2-km radius evacuated; ONGC team pressed into service

Tension prevailed at Uppudi village of Katrenikona mandal in East Godavari district on Sunday as gas leaked from the pipeline being maintained by the PFH Oil and Gas Private Limited, a private agency.

The sound with which the gas leaked created panic in the village.

When The Hindu tried to contact the PFH officials, they were not available for comment.

Sources said the pipeline connected to the Katrenikona well passed through a few villages, including Uppudi.

Word of caution

“As the gas is inflammable, officials have stopped power supply to the villages and asked the residents not to light stoves, or firewood, or use any item that may ignite fire,” said a villager.

The gas smelt like petrol and spread to the nearby villages, said Satyavathi, another villager.

On receiving information, firemen and a technical team of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Rajamahendravaram, rushed to the spot to help the PFH personnel plug the leakage.

“We have asked the residents to be cautious. A few houses in the vicinity have been vacated as a precautionary measure,” said an officer monitoring the operation.

The leakage was not plugged till reports last came in.

This was the second such incident. A pipeline of the ONGC leaked at Antarvedi on January 31.

Plea to Ministry

P. Satyanarayana, a villager, blamed the PFH and ONGC managements for such frequent incidents in the region.

He appealed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and officials of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to inspect the KG Basin, monitor the oil and gas exploration operations, and check the maintenance of wells and pipelines.

“Gas leaked during day at Uppudi. Had it leaked at night, there would have been a major tragedy. We request the government to take steps for the safety of the villagers,” said a farmer, G. Chinna Babu.

Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy rushed to the village to take stock of the situation.

The ONGC pressed its crisis management team from Rajamahendravaram into service, and was planning to deploy another team from Narsapur.

Police picket

Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi said people in a radius of 2- km had been evacuated. The police and revenue personnel were camping at the village and monitoring the situation, the SP said.

“Police pickets have been arranged at Katrenikona, Uppudi and other villages to prevent any untoward incident. Police personnel from Amalapuram, Razole and other places have been deployed at the spot,” the SP added.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 9:45:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/villagers-in-grip-of-fear-as-gas-leaks-from-pipeline-at-uppudi/article30722101.ece

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