Sitting on ‘fireball’


Jammu City is virtually sitting on 'fireball' as any mishap in the Oil Depot, near Jammu Railway Station, may lead to a major catastrophe in Gandhi Nagar constituency of Jammu south. Taking no lessons from IED blast in a petrol tanker, just closer to the main gate of Oil Depot at Jammu Railway Station in which seven persons were injured during 2003 and the Jaipur Oil Depot incident few years ago, where fire could not be controlled even after 10 days, the J&K State authorities are still dragging feet on the most important proposal of shifting Jammu Railway Station Oil Depot of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil Companies to some safer place away from Jammu. Though this highly sensitive proposal is connected with the lives and safety of lakhs of people of Jammu Railway Station area, Trikuta Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Nanak Nagar, Preet Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Lower ChanniHimmat, Chhanni Rama and many other localities of Jammu south, yet it seems to be no priority of the State Government.
This proposal of shifting the Oil depot was floated about two decades back during the DrFarooq Abdullah Government and a site was selected near Vijaypur in district Samba. The area was also closer to the Railway line and Devakriver but due to some objection raised by the Army authorities over firing range and the opposition by the local legislator from Vijaypur, the proposal could not be matured. For many years again, the issue remained lying in the `cold storage'. During 2003, a major catastrophe was averted as some terrorists had planted an IED in an Oil Tanker which came from Kashmir after unloading petrol. Luckily, the IED exploded near the gate of Oil depot, where several persons were injured. Had the explosion been taken place near the depot tank, it could have resulted in a major tragedy. After this incident, the State authorities expedited the process of shifting but again due to some obstacles, the proposal remained moving on snails pace. About eight years ago, another most suitable site of acquiring nearly 960 kanals of Forest and State land near Bajalta was selected by the District Revenue authorities Jammu for the oil depot. The Oil Companies representatives also visited the site besides officers from CAPD. They also found it most suitable because Jammu-Udhampur Railway Line is also closer and on the other side river Tawi. But even after this, no much progress could be witnessed in the proposal till today. A land measuring nearly 1000 kanals has been identified near Bajalta for this purpose. Deputy Commissioner, Jammu has sent the proposal to the Administrative department (Revenue) and the clearance is yet awaited. The Administrative Department had raised some queries and the same stand replied during the time of PawanKotwal as Divisional Commissioner Jammu. He admitted that shifted of this depot is necessary for the safety of the local public as many residential houses have come up near the present Oil depot.

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