A minor explosion on Hosa Road at Anekal in greater Bengaluru on Monday afternoon due to an explosion of a natural gas pipeline of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) injured at least one person. According to residents of the area TNM spoke to, the incident occurred at around 4 pm.
Sandhya Rani, a flower seller, who had set up a stall on the pavement sustained serious injuries and is undergoing treatment at a private hospital nearby.
The explosion was reportedly triggered due to drilling work undertaken on behalf of Jio to lay underground fibre optic cable in the locality despite warnings by the local residents.
“The workers were drilling into the roadside to lay Jio cables. So many of us residents told them to stop the work when a smell started coming. It smelt like some sort of gas being released from the ground. We repeatedly told them to stop but they did not. There was a spillage of sewage in that space where they were digging at the time of the explosion," Srinivas, a resident of Hosa Road in Anekal.
He added, “The explosion resulted in the pavement stones to splinter. Walls of several nearby homes were cracked and a portion of a wall of one shop also broke. Due to the sewage water, there was no fire.”
In a statement, GAIL said, “Gas leak incident in Bengaluru took place at Hosa Road yesterday at 16:30 hrs wherein Jio was doing HDD work for laying of OFC cable without permission/intimation to GAIL Gas Limited, 63 mm diameter underground gas pipeline of GAIL Gas Limited got damaged due to gross negligence of Jio Digital Fibre Private Limited team. This led to the interruption of PNG (piped natural gas) supply. The gas valves were closed immediately and the situation was controlled.”
Another resident whom TNM spoke to, blamed local authorities for the mishap.
"BBMP is to blame for this. Most people who live here are poor and the mishaps involving GAIL are increasing. What precautionary measures are the BBMP or the government taking? The woman who was injured is also poor. Does the government not care about the poor?" Ramesh, a resident questioned.
This incident comes to light after a year when in January 2019, a high-pressure natural gas pipeline of GAIL on Sarjarpur Road outside the Wipro corporate office reported a leak.
Fortunately, due to alert bystanders and local residents, a major tragedy was averted and Fire and Emergency personnel were rushed to the spot.
For a period of time, black smoke came from the road as an earthmover was used to cover the leaked portion with mud. The leak was contained after hour-long efforts by the BBMP and GAIL officials.
According to police, that gas leak had occurred due to excavation work for an ongoing BBMP drainage project.