In the wake of the Nagaram gas pipeline fire-explosion last month in which 21 persons were killed, the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) has appointed Engineers India (EIL) to check the health of its pipeline network of 870 kms from KG Basin on East Coast.
A senior official said that all the pipeline maintenance bases of GAIL across the country have been alerted on the parameters of their health and safety, and instructions have been issued for additional surveillance at increased frequency, and any deviation or abnormality to be attended immediately.
"Engineers India Limited has been commissioned to do a comprehensive health check up of all the lines. Replacement plan will be finalised as per the study report. However, we have been directed not to start any repair work till clearance from district administration is given," the official told PTI.
The mishap occurred in Nagaram village in East Godavari district, about 560 kms from Hyderabad, on June 27 apparently after leaked gas from a GAIL pipeline ignited when a tea vendor lit his stove. Following the explosion, the gigantic flames scorched houses, coconut palms and everything else in a radius of half a kilometre.
The GAIL official said the restoration work of the damaged pipelines will depend on the study report and clearance from district administration. The company has approximately 870 kms of natural gas pipeline network in the state. Though the capacity of the network is 15.9 MMSCMD of natural gas, only about 5 MMSCMD is currently being supplied due to unavailability of gas from KG Basin. Currently, the supplies are further reduced to 3 MMSCMD.
"Though there is a flexibility built into system to maintain alternate minimum supply to consumers, looking into the accident occurred... As a precautionary measure, large part of network is either been shut down or being operated at reduced pressure," the official said about the alternate arrangements being made for gas supplies.
GAIL is bearing medical expenses towards care of the injured persons and will start the construction of permanent houses for the affected persons in the tragic incident of fire in Nagaram village immediately. GAIL also plans to undertake long-term engagement activities for rehabilitation of Nagaram village through a series of initiatives under its CSR programme in addition to the immediate relief activities undertaken. The company has already distributed compensation of Rs 4.29 crore to the affected persons. Food and temporary shelter have been arranged near the affected site and compensation of more than Rs 1 crore for loss of crops and personal properties being handed over to the district administration, the official added.