CHENNAI: A sudden rupture in the underground pipeline transporting oil from Chennai port to a refinery unit at Manali led to accumulation of a large quantity of oil on the Ennore High Road at Kasimedu on Sunday morning.
Even as several motorists skidded on the oily road, the local residents started collecting the spilt oil from the road using clothes and sponges until the police asked them to leave and placed barricades on the stretch.
The underground water in the Tondiarpet area had already been highly polluted by the leaked oil from the pipelines and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd has been supplying drinking water to the residents after a court direction.
The locals said the leak was spotted as early as 4 am on Monday. “As time went by, the oil started flowing onto the road. As the word spread, many people from the nearby areas took buckets and cans to collect the oil. Around 7 am, there was a huge crowd at the spot after which police came,” said Shanmuganathan, a resident of Thedir Nagar.
As the men and women were trying to soak up the spill using rags, motorists passing by stopped to enquire about the incident.
Only by 8.30 am, a team of police officers reached the spot and asked the locals to move away as there is a danger of a fire accident. “We removed the people from the spot and alerted the BPCL officials. The officials closed the valve transporting oil to the refinery after which the oil flow was controlled.
The BPCL officials could not be reached on Sunday for their comments on the incident. However, police said, the company officials have already started the operation to detect the leaky spot and fix it. The 15 kilometre-long pipeline was used to transport crude oil from the Chennai port to the refinery unit in Manali.