Gas leak creates panic on highway

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A gas leak of a different kind had sent panic waves on a State highway in East Godavari on Tuesday. This is the second gas leak reported in about 10 days. No casualties were reported in the fresh incident. This happened even before people of the district could overcome the trauma of a natural gas pipeline leak.

According to Ravulapalem police, an earthmover being transported by a multi-wheel vehicle hit an LPG tanker from behind making a hole in it and gas began leaking with high pressure on the national highway, near Eethakota toll gate. The tanker was proceeding from Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad with 18 tonnes of gas when the accident occurred.

Regional Fire Officer (RFO) G. Srinivasulu said the AP State Disaster Response Force and a HPCL rescue team with the help of police plugged the leak after one and a half hours. “Fire tenders from Kothapeta, Tanuku, Kovvur and Tadepalligudem participated in the operation,” the RFO told The Hindu.

“It was a minor leakage and no casualties were reported,” said an HPCL official of East Godavari district.

“Gas started leaking around 2.45 p.m. and it was stopped at 4.10 p.m. Police diverted traffic as a precautionary measure and alerted the HPCL officials, who deputed the rescue team from Veeralankapalli HP gas plant in Gokavaram mandal of the district,” said Ravulapalem circle inspector V. Krishna.

Driver booked

A case has been registered against the earthmover driver under Sections 336 and 285 IPC. The tanker has been sent to the nearest gas plant for safe unloading.

“Traffic has been diverted at Divancheruvu and Gundugolanu and measures taken to prevent ignition at the spot,” said a DSP.

On February 2, gas leakage occurred from a well at Uppudi village in Katrenikona mandal in the district which created panic in the region. The ONGC, fire and expert teams from other private gas exploration companies plugged the leakage after two days.

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