GAIL gas pipeline fire: Toll rises to 17

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Nagaram (Arunachal Pradesh), June 28: The toll in the deadly blast and fire, apparently caused by leakage from a GAIL gas pipeline here, rose to 17 on Saturday, even as Andhra Pradesh police registered a case of negligence against the state-run firm.

Two persons, including a girl, succumbed to injuries on Saturday. The condition of five among the 20 injured who have received around 80 per cent burns remains critical, police said.

"A 4-year-old girl and a man died today at a private hospital in Kakinada. With this the toll has risen to 17," East Godavari District Superintendent of Police G Vijay Kumar told PTI.

The massive blaze started early morning on Friday, apparently after leaked gas from the pipeline got ignited when a tea vendor lighted his stove. Gigantic flames scorched houses, coconut palms and everything else in a 1.5 km radius.

A case was registered against the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) on Saturday, after examining eye-witnesses, recording statements of victims' relatives and based on preliminary investigation, a police officer said.

Several villagers have alleged that they had complained about foul smell of gas emanating from leaks in the pipeline, but no repair was undertaken by the company.

Two persons, including a girl, succumbed to injuries on Saturday

The case was registered under sections 304 A (causing death by negligence), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) of the Indian Penal Code, the senior police officer said.

Meanwhile, a Centre-appointed committee today started a separate probe after inspecting the site of tragedy.

PTI

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