Saturday, September 26, 2020

Fire at ONGC revives safety concerns at Surat airport

Surat: The major blast in the gas pipeline of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) Hazira plant has once again raised concerns over the safety of flight operations and the extension of the runway at the Surat airport. The reason being: the 36-inch gas pipeline of ONGC where the blast occurred due to leakage passes about 250 metre away from the runway. While the 42-inch pipeline is laid nearly 350 metres from the runway.

The ONGC had carried out a survey in December 2019 for gauging the possibilities for removal of these buried gas pipeline passing close to the airport runway, which are a major hindrance in the runway extension project and for safe flight operations.

Even after nine months of the completion of the survey, the ONGC authorities are yet to give the report to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

This information was given to the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) during meeting held last month by Surat airport director Aman Saini. However, the chairman of AAC desired that the ONGC representative to be invited in the next AAC meeting with the current status report on the survey.

According to sources, during the course of the survey, various testing including soil testing, wind direction, drilling test, vibration test etc. were conducted by ONGC.

Sources said that the ONGC had proposed to construct a culvert, which will be a concrete structure, to cover the buried gas pipeline at the Dumas end of the runway. The culvert will have the capacity to handle more than 140 tonnes per square metre weight, which is enough for the wide-bodied aircraft for landing and take-off.

26/09/20 Times of India

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