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Gujarat ONGC asked to pay damages for crude oil leak in Bharuch district

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BHARUCH, May 26 (PTI): The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has ordered the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to pay Rs 50 lakh in damages for the spillage of crude oil from its pipeline in Bharuch district, an official said on Friday.

It has been alleged that 25 camels died after drinking water contaminated with the spillage on Sunday, though the central government-controlled oil major has denied it.

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An agricultural field near Kachhipura village was found covered in crude oil leaked from a pipeline belonging to ONGC on Sunday, said Bharuch-based GPCB regional officer Margi Patel.

The board ordered inquiry after the death of camels was reported.

“We have directed ONGC to pay Rs 50 lakh as environmental damage compensation (to the state authorities),” Patel said.

The actual cause of the death of the camels will be clear only after the autopsy report is available, the official said.

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The GPCB has also directed the ONGC to clean up the site, she added.

ONGC said in a statement that cleaning-up operation was being carried out on a war footing and the site will be restored by May 30.

It also claimed that “the unfortunate death of camels in the area and oil leakage are two unrelated incidents.”

“However, as a responsible corporate, ONGC continues to provide all assistance to GPCB, state administrative agencies, and forensic team investigating the incident,” it said.

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An owner of some of the dead camels told reporters that a total of 77 animals were being taken to a nearby village for grazing on Sunday afternoon.

Some of them drank from puddles of water contaminated with crude oil in the field and died on the spot, he claimed.

While at least 25 camels died, others were treated by veterinary doctors and were in stable condition, he said.

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