Uran residents write to ONGC, seek a safe life
They plan to stage a hunger strike on Sept 20 in case the letter fails to yield a response from the authorities
People living in the neighbouring areas of the state-run ONGC plant in Uran, Navi Mumbai, where a fire killed four people a week back, have come together to ensure their safety and that a similar situation does not arise again. They have sent a letter citing all their demands to the ONGC project head and the Uran MPs and MLAs. They also plan to stage a hunger strike on September 20 in case the letter fails to yield a response from the authorities concerned.
Uran resident, Santosh Pawar, said, "The ONGC authorities said that the chemical had started leaking into the nullah since the previous night. Then why wasn't there an alarm to alert people? Over and above this, none of the fire safety equipment were working properly and those who were using extinguishers to control the blaze did not have proper fire-proof jackets. They should keep a check of the entire automatic system, which they claim to be of a very high quality, as they are handling hazardous chemicals.
There should also be a gas-detection system in place. Even the siren wasn't working after the fire broke out. The company should use its CSR funds to provide a safe and secured life to the project-affected people, whom they are completely ignoring. If ONGC does not make efforts to resolve these problems, then we will stage a hunger strike on September 20."
The fire at the Uran plant of the oil company exposed its alleged negligence towards the residents of the adjoining villages. The villagers were trapped inside their houses as the blaze spread to the nullah, which carries hazardous chemicals along with storm water from the plant and flows through the surrounding villages.
mid-day had reported about the condition in which the residents are living in its September 4 story — Villagers trapped as ONGC fire spreads to nullah. According to the residents, ONGC should not have given them houses in the areas where they throw chemical wastes. They are of the opinion that the company should either provide them security or shift them to a different place.
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