With two days already gone, the fire that broke out in Jaipur’s Indian Oil depot is still raging and authorities say that it could be while before it is quenched.
The fire has claimed 12 lives and wounded 150 people, in addition requiring displacement of around 5 lakhs people.
The fire broke out after about 50,000 kilo-litres of fuel, mostly diesel, caught fire due to a pipeline leak at one of the tanks.
On Friday, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora paid a visit to the site. During the visit, he announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of those killed, Rs 2 lakhs to the those were severely injured and Rs 1 lakh to those with minor injuries. An investigation has been ordered into the matter.
Most of the injuries have been because of wall collapses, splinters from shatter glass panes and burns.
Unless the entire fuel burns out, the fire cannot be extinguished even though 35 firefighting teams, including special chemical fire tender have been pressed into actions.
However, the cause of the fire is still unknown.
State Home Secretary, Atul Sen said, “I understand there was an internal flare but its a matter of investigation now.”
“One of the oil tanks caught fire and then it spread rapidly. There were huge flames as high as 70 feet and an area of nearly 2-3 kilometres was engulfed in fire and flames,” said an eyewitness who also pitched in to help rescue work.
The images are a chilling reminder of India’s worst industrial disaster yet, the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, that left nearly 3000 dead and more than 15000 affected in one way or the other.