After visiting the IOC terminal where a storage tank was engulfed in a major fire, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily today said a high-level investigation into the incident has been ordered and a report is expected by January 20.
Two persons were killed in the fire in storage tank number four of IOC terminal in Hazira which was contained after a 21-hour operation by the fire brigade team.
Moily appreciated the work of local administration, fire brigade and other public and private sector companies for the massive disaster management operation and containing the fire which had started yesterday afternoon.
He said petrol worth Rs 35 crore has been burnt and another Rs 10 crore loss of infrastructure has also been reported in the blaze.
The Minister announced on behalf of IOC a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those who died in the incident.
"We have already ordered a high-level investigation into the matter and the report is expected by January 20," he told reporters after visiting the site.
"It is under investigation whether the fire was caused by human error or not, both by the district administration and a high-level inquiry. Everything will be investigated. No one will be spared if there is an error," he said.
"The fire has been contained. Even though the other tanks were situated just by the side of Tank No 4, the damage was controlled and contained. The fire was confined to only one tank," Moily said.
The IOC facility at Hazira has nine tanks located close to each other and Tank number four was also nearby.
"I must appreciate the services rendered by the fire services authority, employees of the municipal corporations and the state government and also appreciate the services of the public and private sector companies (in fire fighting)," Moily said.
"This is an immediate instance of disaster management mechanism in place, unlike Jaipur, where everything was gutted," he said.
One of the IOC officials said that it may take another 24 hours to bring the fire totally under control.
About losses in the fire, Moily said, "5,027 kilo litres of petrol was lost in the blaze. The cost is about Rs 30-35 crore and Rs 10 crore of infrastructure was destroyed."
The Minister identified the two persons who died in the incident as - Jalandhar Chaudhary and Rahul Prasad.
He said that IOC will immediately pay their families a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each.
Moily praised the disaster management mechanism which helped control the fire.
"This is the immediate instance of disaster management mechanism in place. In Jaipur everything was gutted. With regard to safety measures and disaster management mechanism, it is a good job," he said.
This is the second major fire at IOC storage depots since 2009. On October 29, 2009, a fire broke out at its Jaipur terminal which raged for 11 days, killed 11 people and resulted in losses worth Rs 280 crore.
In the Hazira fire incident, more than 15 fire fighters were pressed into service, not only from Surat but also from adjoining areas like Valsad, Navsari, Vapi, Ankleshwar and Bharuch to contain the flames.
Disaster Management teams of KRIBHCO, ESSAR, NTPC, ONGC and other companies also rushed to IOC facility to assist in carrying out fire extinguishing work.
Moily said that after the Jaipur incident, a number of safety measures were put in place. The software and many other measures helped in containing the fire this time, he added.