Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik. (Photo/ ANI)
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik. (Photo/ ANI)

Barge P305 deaths: ONGC neglected Cyclone Tauktae alerts, must be held responsible, says Nawab Malik

ANI | Updated: May 20, 2021 15:27 IST


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 20 (ANI): Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik on Thursday alleged that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited did not heed the warnings on Cyclonic Tauktae and hence put the lives of 600 workers on the barge in danger.
The Navy rescued 188 workmen and recovered bodies of 37 people from Barge Papaa (P305) which sank in the Arabian Sea, 35 nautical miles from Mumbai under the impact of Cyclone Tauktae.
"Despite many alerts on Cyclone Tauktae, the ONGC neglected the alert, the lives of 600 workers were in danger. They were not shifted to a safer place. More than 40 people are still missing, hundreds of workers were fighting for their lives in a rough sea. Responsibility should be fixed," Malik said.
The Maharashtra minister further said that the ONGC and the Petroleum Ministry must be answerable for putting the lives of the workers in danger.
"Dharmendra Pradhan (Union Petroleum Minister) has set up a panel for enquiry in the matter but it is not sufficient. It is the responsibility of ONGC, those officials responsible for this should be suspended," he added.
Barge P305 started drifting after its anchors gave way off the Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High as cyclonic storm Tauktae brushed past the western coast.
The rescue operations by the Navy were undertaken in extreme weather conditions and in very rough seas.
Meanwhile, reacting to the financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for immediate relief activities in Cyclone Tauktae ravaged state Gujarat, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that if Gujarat has given Rs 1,000 crore, soon Goa will get Rs 500 crore and Maharashtra will get Rs 1,500 crore as the Prime Minister knows how Maharashtra has suffered due to the cyclonic storm.
"Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis has taken a tour to the affected areas. Fadnavis Ji will tell the Prime Minister that Maharashtra will need Rs 1500 crore as financial assistance," Raut said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in Cyclone Tauktae ravaged state Gujarat.
The Prime Minister also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured in the cyclone in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and the UTs of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Tauktae stands to be the strongest storm to impact Gujarat since 1998 as it battered parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast, uprooting electric poles and trees, and damaging several houses and roads, before weakening, officials said on Tuesday. (ANI)

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