Gas pipeline leak reported on Bengaluru’s Sarjapur road during BBMP excavation work

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A leak was reported from a high-pressure natural gas pipeline of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) on Sarjarpur Road outside the Wipro corporate office on Friday afternoon. According to police, the gas leak occurred due to excavation work in an ongoing BBMP drainage project.

Fire Department personnel and GAIL officials rushed to the location to prevent the mishap from transforming into a catastrophe. “Our station (Sarjapur) was informed at 10.45 am. It took around five hours to control the leak. The engine reported back to the station at 4 pm,” a fire department official told TNM.

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For a period of time, black smoke was emitted from the road as an earthmover was used to cover the leaked portion with mud, eyewitnesses told TNM.

An eyewitness and resident of the area, said, “It was only around 1:15 pm when I spotted a fire engine from my balcony. There was a huge traffic pile up in the region. I went down and then I understood the situation.”

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Requesting anonymity, the eyewitness said, “We, the residents of the area had a lucky escape. Anybody could have lit a cigarette and a huge ball of fire would have engulfed the area. Is the value of our lives this cheap? This happens due to the lack of safety culture.”

Although GAIL had put up warning boards and flagstones at frequent intervals along the stretch, the civic workers engaged on the ground continued with the excavation. Two boards near the leak site, which were brought down, read, “Company must be given notice prior to any excavation in the vicinity of this pipeline.”

The resident noted that other breaches have occurred during the ongoing BBMP drainage work in which electrical poles have been exposed and proper barricades have not been erected near drains under construction.

This is not the first instance that Bengaluru has witnessed such a gas leak. In two incidents in October and November 2018, the Bangalore Metro work near Whitefield had caused similar gas leaks. No injuries or deaths were reported in either incident.

For those lapses, police had filed a case against the BMRCL based on a complaint by GAIL.

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