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Rs.25 lakh ex-gratia relief for GAIL blast victims
Saturday June 28, 2014 0:36 AM, IANS

The government Friday announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.25 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased in Friday's GAIL pipeline explosion in Andhra Pradesh.

Compensation for the injured was also announced after Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the accident site along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

"The total ex-gratia payment to the next of kin of the deceased will be Rs.25 lakh. Of this, Rs.2 lakh will be provided from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, Rs.3 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund and Rs.20 lakh from GAIL (India) Limited," a petroleum ministry statement said.

"For the permanently disabled, Rs.5 lakh will be deposited as fixed deposit in their name by GAIL (India) Limited," it added.

All other injured people will be given an ex-gratia of Rs.100,000, the ministry said.

Assuring the best possible medical care for the injured, the ministry said GAIL will bear all expenses on treatment.

The injured have been shifted to hospitals in nearby Amalapuram and Kakinada towns. As many as 15 people were killed and 30 injured when the fire erupted at about 5.30 a.m.

The ministry said GAIL will compensate damage to property and crops at market value.

"All thatched houses in the affected village will be converted into pucca (brick-and-mortar) houses through CSR funds of GAIL and ONGC," the statement said.

"A world-class skill upgradation centre will be established near the site of the accident through CSR funds of GAIL and ONGC," it added.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu reported massive losses caused by the fire.

"Coconut trees and other crops in over 10 acres were reduced to ashes," the minister said.

The fire is suspected to have been caused by leakage in the 18-inch pipeline of GAIL near the Tatipaka refinery of the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), about 550 km from Hyderabad.

The petroleum minister has ordered a high-level inquiry to find the cause of the fire.

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