The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 28 , 2013
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LPG tanker turns turtle

- Prompt action by fire tenders prevents tragedy

Golaghat, Aug. 27: A tanker carrying highly inflammable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) turned turtle on NH37 between Rangamati and Badulipara in Golaghat district, about 280km from Guwahati, in the wee hours today, sparking panic among residents.

However, fire tenders from Dergaon, Golaghat and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) were rushed to the spot to prevent any untoward incident.

The tanker (NL-01 K5939), carrying 16 tonnes of LPG, was on its way from Duliajan to Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) bottling plant in North Guwahati, when it overturned and fell into a roadside ditch around 1.30am.

The accident led to the safety valve of the tanker breaking and vapour emitting, which unnerved fire brigade personnel and residents present on the spot. They were asked to switch off their mobile phones to avoid any disaster.

The situation was brought under control around 3pm when the safety valve was fixed.

Officer-in-charge of Dergaon police station, Ashim Bora, who was the first to reach the spot around 2am, said, “As soon as I got information, I immediately informed officials of NRL and IOC. NRL despatched a fire tender along with four personnel. We are waiting for the IOC technical team to reach the spot,” Bora told The Telegraph.

The whole area was cordoned off. Traffic was restricted on Numaligarh Tiniali and Dergaon Chariali, with vehicles coming from Guwahati and Jorhat side being diverted through Golaghat town. The traffic restrictions will be in force till the damaged tanker is shifted from the spot.

The incident has brought to light the complete lack of co-ordination between the two oil companies. The NRL officials said they did not receive any message from IOC authorities regarding any technical measures taken to stop gas leakage from the tanker and hence, they could not take immediate action since the tanker belonged to IOC. On the other hand, the technical team from IOC had not arrived at the spot even 12 hours after the incident.

This led to problems for daily commuters and residents since the national highway was blocked since morning.

Last year, an oil tanker had crashed against an electric post at Bongaon, around 5km from the site of today’s accident and burst into flames, engulfing the surrounding areas and leading to the death of five persons and destruction of three huts.