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Safety audit of operating units
November, 13th 2009

With lessons from the devastating fire that gutted the IOC depot here at the Sitapura industrial area, the company has decided to begin a safety audit of all its operating depots, terminals and plants in the country.

According to N Srikumar, executive director, corporate communication, IOC, the safety and security audit would cover all the 300-plus locations nationwide of the IOC.

"A three-member multi-diciplinary committee has been set up for the purpose. They would go to all the locations and whatever security lapses prevails anywhere would be brought on records. All depots, bottling plants, aviation fuel centres etc will be checked," he said.

The company will also identity its other locations in cluttered areas in the country and take steps to prevent a reoccurrence of a similar mishap.

"We will train and re-train people on safety measures. The accident at Sitapura depot was a one-off case and was beyond what we were doing. But it is critical and we are looking for some kind of a lead into what caused the fire so as to take lessons," he said.

A four-member IOC internal committee probing into the cause of the inferno left the city on Thursday. Company sources said the team has, for the past few days, been collecting circumstantial evidence and talking to people for a possible lead into the reason behind the accident. The team would be submitting its report to the board of directors on November 20.

A separate investigation is on by a seven-member committee set up by the Centre. Late evening on October 29, a devastating fire broke out at the oil company's depot gutting 11 of its 12 tankers containing petrol, diesel and kerosene. The fire that lasted for about a week is said to have started due a leak in a pipeline. It killed 11 persons, six of whom were IOC employees, while the others were workers in nearby factories.

The company is also currently in talks with the state government to find a suitable alternative venue for shifting its depot from Sitapura. "We have no problems in going to an alternative site. Since these depots are pipeline-basede we cannot veer too much off the track. We intend using the prevailing pipeline to carry fuel to our new depot," he said

"In fact, we have told the government we want the alternative land along the highway itself. It is expected the government will show us alternative plots in two-three days. A team would soon leave from here to begin the process of site selection," he added.

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