The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Friday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the transportation of LPG through rail is unviable in the absence of proper rail carriages linking bottling plants and supply points.
S Rajendran, chief LPG manager of IOC, made the submission following a High Court suggestion that the risk factor could be completely removed by transporting bulk LPG though rail. The court had issued the directive on a petition filed by K B Joy seeking judicial inquiry into the recent tanker disaster and consequent deaths at Chala in Kannur.
The IOC submitted that the transportation of LPG in large volumes through rail may also lead to more disastrous accidents.
“All the bottling plants are located far away from the normal rail route and presently the plants cannot be fed through rail. The transportation of LPG by road is in vogue since inception,” it said.
According to the IOC, transportation of LPG by road from source to destination was undertaken by a transporter who is appointed by the Corporation through an open tender system.
The Corporation ensures that the truck as well as the fittings comply with the statutory regulations like that of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). Trucks transporting bullets are also provided with TREM (transport emergency) cards.
As per the public liability insurance policy of the oil industry, the insurance agency undertakes the assessment of the damage and the compensation to be given to the victims. It will be disbursed to the eligible persons by the District Collector. As it as a road accident, the Corporation cannot provide any employment to the dependents of the deceased in Chala tragedy. The final compensation would be given once the insurance company finalises the compensation. The Corporation has already disbursed `2 crore to the Chala victims, it said.
As per the directions by the Motor Vehicle Department, LPG bullets are allowed to travel through the national highways in Kerala during 6 pm to 6 am, which is not the case in other states. The restriction was also a reason for accidents at night owing to poor visibility. In the wake of the Chala incident, the norms during the day time has been relaxed.
The Corporation is also taking steps to set up LPG import terminal here and link the LPG bottling plant to this terminal by pipeline, which will reduce the movement of bulk LPG tank trucks.