A fire which broke out at Indian Oil Corporations oil depot in Sitapura on 29 October 2009 was caused by human error, a report finds.
Twelve people were killed and many injured in the blaze that burned for a week. Shops, business and educational establishments in the area also had to remain closed for months affecting much of their operations.
A seven-member M B Lal committee set up by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas is probing into the reasons behind devastating fire.
The committee, headed by former Hindustan Petroleum Corporation chairman M B Lal, had tabled its report on 2 February 2010 to the ministry. The report pointed out the gross negligence during the transfer of petrol from the storage tank. It was a leak that subsequently caused the fire and engulfed all the 11 storage tanks at the depot.
The report said due to non-observance of safety procedures a 10 to 12 metre fountain of petrol began to form during the transfer of fuel from the storage tank. Later, fumes from the fountain spread over a 250-metre radius in the area. Fuel leaked for 75 minutes before a spark caused either by the start of two-wheeler or an oven in a kitchen in the vicinity resulted in the fire.
The expert committee had also raised question on the role of Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) that is entrusted with the task of conducting safety audits of oil installations and ensuring its compliance. An audit in 2003 had pointed to a deficiency in the off-loading valve.