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Mystery hovers Guwahati Refinery fire


HEMANTA PHUKAN | Guwahati, January 13, 2012 16:49
Tags : Guwahati | oil | refinery | mystery | CID | forensic |

After seven people got severe burn injuries due to explosions and fire in the Indian Oil Corporation’s Guwahati Refinery fire incident on January 10, the incident has become a point of ‘pride’ for the banned ULFA that had claimed the responsibility of the blast. However, on the other hand, the police as well as the Refinery authorities have repeatedly stated that the fire was not a sabotage of any miscreants including the ULFA but an unfortunate accident due to some technical snag.

The Guwahati Refinery, with a production capacity of 1 million metric tonnes per annum, is India’s oldest public sector refinery and is celebrating its golden jubilee (50 years)
Talking to the media, DGM HR of the refinery WR Borbora said that the source of ignition could not be identified. To enquire into the incident, the Indian Oil Corporation Limited management has constituted a three-member team of experts from the refinery operation, technical services and fire safety wings. He further said that the committee will submit its report in three days. However, when asked how the fire incident happened, he was unable to give a commendable account.
A resident of the Noonmati, closed to the refinery Rajen Talukder said that at the time of the incident happened, he had heard sound of three blasts and then the fire touched the night sky. This suggests towards the conformity of claims by ULFA. Over IOC's statement, the assistant publicity secretary of the Parash Baruah fraction, Arunudoi Dohotiya in another e-mail sent to the media once again claimed that the blast was triggered by none other than ULFA. In the mail, the ULFA also sent condolence message to those workers of the refinery who were injured in the blast. Dohotiya said that denial of ULFA’s involvement in the case was a strategic move by the police force.
Although the authorities at Guwahati Refinery have repeatedly clarified that the fire was an accident and not a sabotage work of the ULFA, teams of Guwahati based Forensic Science Laboratory and the Criminal Investigating Department (CID) paid a visit to the fire site and collected pieces of debris. Such an act of the investigative agencies raised the questions that if the ULFA is not involved with the incident, then why such anti-terrorist investigation is being carried out?
Officials of the refinery have confirmed that around 5 kilo litre of slop material was lost in the fire and the tank shell and roof got ruptured. A total of 49 drums of instrumentation cables were affected. Cables and parts of bridge crane were also damaged in the incident. However, the refinery authorities have assured that there would be no adverse impact on availability of essential petroleum products like petrol, diesel, ATF, LPG kerosene, etc. in the market due to the fire incident. 
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017