Environment Ministry to take strong action for oil leak

Chennai: The Environment Ministry on Monday warned of strong action against oil marketing companies including closure of their plant, if there was any oil leakages in highly populated areas.
"We (the Ministry) are geared to take action even the closure of the firm considering the safety of human lives and environment," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said chairing a meeting with top officials of four oil marketing companies here.
Recalling the recent incidents in Nagapattinam where there was oil leak from one of the pipelines belonging to an oil company, she said her Ministry has directed the OMCs to follow guidelines which include the constant monitoring of the pipelines under SCADA system, repairing old pipes and setting up of a 24-hour dedicated team.
Later talking to reporters, she said ONGC had laid pipelines for 700 kms in Tamil Nadu while in Chennai, out of 92kms, pipelines run above the ground for 42kms. These pipelines carry crude oil, naphtha and cooking gas, she said.
Strongly advocating the need to create awareness on oil pipelines running under-ground in densely populated areas, the minister said she would discuss with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to replace such pipelines, if they are very old.
"Most of the pipelines (that are running underground) are 42-50 years old. I will strongly urge my senior colleagues in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to replace the pipelines. What can be more important than the safety of the human life and environment?" she asked.
Observing that her Ministry would hold a similar meeting with officials of oil marketing companies in Mumbai shortly, Natarajan also directed the ports to adopt a 'standard operating procedure and response system' in case of an oil leak in sea.
Noting that threat to environment also arises due to oil wastes, she said, the oil companies should have a dedicated area to dispose the oil wastages.