Whiff of racket in oil theft from IOCL pipelines

Paradip: Debunking the claim of intensified patrolling made by the police and IOCL authorities, people of the area have alleged that the siphoning off thousands of litres of oil from IOCL pipelines by miscreants is taking place with their connivance.

Notably, huge quantities of of oil is being stolen by miscreants from the IOCL terminal pipeline by cutting through the pipeline and siphoning off thousands of liters of oil by using plastic barrels.

Locals have alleged that both the police and IOCL authorities have turned a blind eye to the massive theft of oil and have taken no steps to curb the practice.

“The police patrolling in this area is not strong. Similarly, the IOCL authorities have no clue about such theft. When asked, they say that there is no theft, only leakage. They seem to be trying to protect someone and it looks like a big racket,” said local resident Sashank Shekhar Acharya.

There are few takers for the police claim of intensified patrolling.

Sources said that yesterday, a few miscreants were trying to steal oil from the pipeline connected to Palanda IOCL terminal. However, they fled the spot after Police arrived. Police seized various equipment used to steal oil from the spot.

Notably, when Oil arrives at Paradip port through ships, it is transferred to the IOCL terminal through the pipeline. Occurrence of such Oil theft has raised a lot of questions which points towards a coordinated racket. The question that inevitably arises is how are the miscreants able to know the timings of the arrival of the ship? How do they get information about the how oil is being transferred? The lackadaisical approach of IOCL authorities towards the incidents leaves a lot to be answered.

IOCL authorities were not available for comments.

Locals have also raised concerns about possible accidents due to frequent oil theft.

On the other hand, such theft has also given rise to environmental pollution as oil leaking from the ruptured pipelines is contaminating nearby water bodies.

“When oil products like petrol, diesel and kerosene enter water bodies, they affect marine life. Moreover, it is the nesting season of Olive Ridley sea turtles and such pollution is harmful,” said environmentalist Ayeskant Ray.

Pollution control authorities, however, say they are taking all possible steps to ensure that there is no pollution.

“When we got the information yesterday, we immediately attended to it. We have taken samples of water bodies and have sent them for analysis. We have already given direction. As far as the current incident is concerned, we will issue more directions after analysis,” said Pramod Kumar Behera, the deputy environmental engineer of the Pollution Control Board in Paradip.