LHC begins probe into Ahmedpur Sharqia inferno incident
LAHORE: Beginning probe into Ahmedpur Sharqia inferno incident, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday said whoever would be found responsible for the incident will have to face the repercussions, ARY News reported.
Chief Justice LHC Syed Mansoor Ali Shah held the hearing which was faced by the officials of Explosive Department, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) and highway police.
The tragic incident of oil tanker blast, which claimed over 200 lives, took place a day before Eid-ul-Fitr on June 25 after oil container carrying gasoline for the company rolled over causing fuel leakage.
Explosive Department apprised the Lahore court that license of the fateful tanker had expired and no request for its renewal was made.
The department representative said Rs500 fine was imposed for the first time and then Rs2,000 were fined for travelling without valid license. He said the company was also served show cause notice in this regard.
The court lambasted for imposing such a minimal amount of fine and said this way every driver would get rid of the law by giving only Rs500. “It is pitiful that such a peanut amount of fine is imposed for such a big crime,” said the LHC.
The CJ LHC said practical measures should be taken to stop such incidents in the future.
He questioned that if the motorway and national highway authority were not taking the responsibility of vehicle fitness then who was responsible for checking the container before filling it with oil.
The court questioned from the government that on what basis did it give compensation. “Was cabinet’s approval taken in this regard and where are insurance companies?” questioned the LHC.
The LHC asked OGRA what policy was adopted by the oil company in favor of the victims.
OGRA replied that the company was ordered to give the each dead Rs1 million and the each injured Rs0.5 million. Lawyer of the oil company sought time from the court to submit reply in this regard as its client had not yet provided any compensation money to the victims.
The court adjourned the hearing till next Friday and demanded comprehensive report from each stakeholder.
This should be noted that OGRA has held Shell responsible for the inferno and ordered the subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to pay about Rs10 million as penalty against the damages.
The report compiled by the OGRA revealed that the incident was caused by non-professional driving while overlooking the safety standards.
OGRA spokesperson Imran Ghaznavi apprised media that the referred company has completely ignored the safety standards of the vehicles procured from the contractors.