Cyclone Tauktae deaths | ONGC must be punished, says Maharashtra Minister

ONGC failed to take precautions and did not follow protocols, says Nawab Malik.

Published - May 20, 2021 01:54 am IST - Mumbai

A man rescued by the Indian Navy from a barge that sank in the Arabian sea and brought by INS Kochi looks on as he sits inside a vehicle in Mumbai on May 19, 2021.

A man rescued by the Indian Navy from a barge that sank in the Arabian sea and brought by INS Kochi looks on as he sits inside a vehicle in Mumbai on May 19, 2021.

Nawab Malik, Maharashtra Minister, on Wednesday criticised the ONGC for not paying heed to the warnings on Cyclone Tauktae. It should have evacuated all the workers from the barges, he said.

In all, 22 people who were on board P305 barge that sank on Monday in the Arabian Sea were confirmed dead by Afcons that had deployed the barge at an ONGC platform in the Bombay high.

“Our immediate focus is to locate and rescue the remaining personnel as quickly as possible,” Afcons said in a statement. The Navy and the Coast Guard have so far rescued 189 of the 261 persons who were on board the barge.

Mr. Malik said, “Everyone was made aware of the cyclone and warnings were sent out for all to take precautions. The local government agencies had made arrangements for people on coastal areas to move to safer places and fishermen were asked not to venture into the seas. Then why did the ONGC not follow protocols ? They should have evacuated all their workers from the barges and brought them to shore before the onset of the cyclone.”

Due to their failure to do so, he said, the lives of 600 innocent workers were put in danger. “The Navy and the Coast Guard are doing their best. Action must be taken against those who are in charge and did not take the decision of evacuation at the right time. They must be held responsible and punished. The Central Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas must also be answerable.”

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