Fear ‘Bhopal-like tragedy’ if encroachers stay put: HPL
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Haldia Petrochemicals Limited authorities have warned of a major disaster comparable to the Bhopal gas tragedy if encroachments in Haldia, particularly around the HPL plant in the industrial township, are not removed.
In an affidavit submitted in the Calcutta High Court in connection with a writ petition for eviction of encroachers, HPL has stated that "in the event of outbreak of fire, the entire area would be engulfed and there would be serious threat to life and property, the magnitude of which can perhaps be compared to the tragedy at Bhopal".
Haldia is one of the largest industrial and chemical industries hub in West Bengal, set up almost 25 years ago. However, the encroachments adjoining factories and plants are posing a serious problem.
The East Midnapore district administration and Haldia Development Authority had in June decided to remove the encroachments and illegal huts from various areas in the township. The encroachers, who already have voter identity cards, moved the high court against their eviction. On June 25, Justice Dipankar Dutta stayed the eviction for two weeks.
Added as a party in the case, HPL authorities filed an affidavit supporting the eviction surrounding its plant in Haldia.
According to the affidavit, HPL has several underground and overground pipelines carrying raw materials such as naphtha, motor spirit, butadiene, benzene and other chemicals between Haldia Port oil jetty Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and the plant. The jetties are located on the Ganga.
An HPL official explained that the people staying illegally around the HPL plant have damaged the pipelines, which carry highly inflammable chemicals and oils. They tap the pipelines at different points for siphoning off the inflammable oils and chemicals, and it has become a source of livelihood for hundreds of encroachers.
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