The Centre today ordered a high-level probe into Saturday's fire at IOCL's refinery here and said it will not affect Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to dedicate the Rs 350 billion to the nation on February 7. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) has been asked to inquire into the fire incident that took place at the refinery's Atmospheric Vaccum Unit (AVU) yesterday evening and give its report
Maintaining that the fire at the refinery's AVU, near gate number 1, has been completely extinguished, Pradhan, who visited the site today, said the exact reason behind the incident could be ascertained only after getting a detailed report from OISD. No injury has been reported due to the fire, which caused minor damage to the outlet pumping section of AVU, he said, adding the refinery is well equipped to handle such mishaps. The damage is being assessed and the unit is operating normally, he said.
The minister said the fire would have no impact on the programme of the Prime Minister, who is scheduled to visit Paradip to dedicate the 15 MTPA state-of-the-art IOCL Refinery to the nation on February 7. After the fire broke out last evening, at least seven fire tenders were deployed to douse the flames at the newly constructed AVU, a part of the crude oil processing unit, police said. Executive Director of IOCL's Paradip Refinery Ramjee Ram said the loss due to the blaze can be ascertained only after thorough assessment.
The nearby units, which had been shut down after the fire broke out, were now being restarted as the flames have been completely put out, officials said. The incident triggered panic among IOCL officials as the refinery is getting ready for the Prime Minister's visit. The incident took place when Pradhan was present in the refinery.