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Life getting back on track as IOC fire abates
Published on 5 Nov. 2009 10:54 PM IST
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With electricity being restored to most areas and people returning home, life in Sitapura near this Rajasthan capital was Thursday returning to normal as the fire at the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) depot abated with only one of the 11 tanks ablaze. The fire broke exactly a week ago, on the evening of Oct 29, killing 11 people and injuring over 150. With the district administration allowing activities 500 meters away from the fire site on the outskirts of Jaipur, residents began returning home. Work resumed in the industrial units that had been shut since the fire began. “We are happy to come back home. Though our house has been damaged because of the fire and cracks have appeared on the walls, there was the problem of theft in the vacant houses that was troubling us,” said S.N. Sharma, a resident of a colony near the depot. The district administration has ensured power supply in 80 percent of the areas. The railways have also decided to resume trains on the Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur sector. Trains on this sector had been diverted, resulting in delays of one-three hours. Police have also started recording statements of those industrialists who had filed complaints accusing the IOC of negligence. The agriculture department has constituted a committee to assess crop losses. The fire, meanwhile, continued in one of the tanks containing petrol. “Out of the two tanks which were on fire yesterday, fire in one of the tanks has almost come to an end and right now because of burning of sludge black smoke is coming out of it. We hope this will go out completely in the next two-four hours,” fire officer Ishwar Lal Jat told IANS. He said the other tank was burning slowly and it may take another 24-36 hours for the blaze to get extinguished. Black smoke has swathed an area of two-three kilometres around the depot with people complaining of headaches, restlessness, itching in the eyes and respiratory problems. A team of experts from the Central Pollution Control Board is monitoring air, water and soil in the affected areas. This is in addition to the team of Rajasthan Pollution Control Board, which is monitoring air pollution in five locations of the city.

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