After three days, Mumbai crisis team plugs gas leak

By Express News Service

KAKINADA: Three days after a gas pipeline in Uppudi village in Katrenikona mandal started leaking, leading to evacuation of 1,600 people to nearby Cheyyeru village, a crisis management team from Mumbai came and plugged the leakage.

A team, led by an official from ONGC Rajamahendravaram named G Srihari, was initially brought in to resolve the issue. His team tried to regulate gas outflow from the pipeline, while simultaneously spraying water on it to prevent over heating and eventual explosion. The efforts continued till 4pm on Sunday, but the situation could not be brought under control. Meanwhile, staff from ONGC and the district fire department evacuated the entire village to nearby Cheyyuru.

ONGC, consequently, decided to employ the services of a Mumbai-based crisis management team. The latter suggested that dumping sand on the faulty gas pipeline might do the trick. However, it failed.

In an effort to mitigate the situation, the ONGC disaster response team decided to pump water at high pressure to a valve attached to the pipeline to arrest the gas release but were unable to do so. Finally, the Mumbai team decided to use mud pumping method. Around 40,000 litres of mud mixed with chemicals was pumped into the pipeline.

The move was successful and the leakage was stopped within an hour. After news spread that the leakage had been plugged, residents of Uppudi showed interest in returning to their homes. The people stayed at a rehabilitation centre in Cheyyuru for two days and were provide food and water by revenue officials. Katrenikona primary health centre medical officer instructed locals to take care of their health in the aftermath of the gas leakage. “Infants, pregnant and lactating women and asthmatic patients should be kept away from Uppudi village for the next few days. People should spend a  few days at the rehabilitation centre so that atmospheric contamination is eliminated,” the official said.

Social Welfare Minister Pinipe Viswaroop visited Uppudi as well as the rehabilitation centre in Cheyyeru.

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