MARGAO Panic gripped residents of Balli village on Sunday morning after a tanker carrying naphthalene turned turtle at a sharp turn meters away from the Panchayat Ghar.
Traffic on the NH-17 between Balli and Canacona was closed for for around six and half hours as a precautionary measure as the leaking tanker triggered panic in the locality. The incident occurred at around 8.30 am when the tanker carrying around 14 tons of highly inflammable napthalene turned turtle after the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a sharp turn. The tanker was heading to Vasco to deliver the consignment to Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, sources said.
After receiving the
information, Cuncolim police stopped traffic from plying on the highway and diverted the traffic to Canacona via the Balli four road junction.
Fire services which rushed to the spot tried to control the leakage by spraying foam on the tanker as inflammable liquid was oozing out from the lids of the vehicle. Around 60 litres of foam were used by the fire services to contain the damage, before company officials came on the spot and plugged the leakage only at around 12 pm.
Around half-a-ton to one ton of napthalene is believed to have leaked from the tanker, but fortunately there was no water body or stream adjoining the highway, which could have made matters worse for the agencies, remarked Fire Officer Gill De Souza.
It took much time for the authorities to tow the ill-fated tanker since the crane requisitioned for the salvage operation could not meet the requirements and an SOS was dispatched to requisitioned a heavy duty crane to tow the vehicle.
It was only at around 3 pm that the tanker was removed from the site and taken to the Cuncolim police station premise and the highway was finally thrown up for traffic at around 3.30 pm.
After ill-fated tanker was lifted, around three to four trucks of trucks of mud was dumped at the spot to cap the site as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, Cuncolim legislator Rajan Naik conceded that the sharp turn along NH-17 at Balli needs to be widened on a priority basis to avert road mishaps.
The MLA who visited the spot said that though the Public Works Department had plans to widen the road, the work could not start since the land in question is owned by private parties. “We will seek NOCs from the parties”, he said.
Rajan complimented the villagers of Balli for extending all out cooperation to the agencies throughout the day.
Locals team up to prevent calamity
precautionary measure. Some households even skipped their morning tea, and many sent their children to their relatives far away from the spot.
Local youth formed teams to tell residents to switch off their cell phones and not to light match sticks.
Sarpanch Alka Potdar and members of self-help groups were in action as they spread the message to their counterparts to put their gas connections off. “The women folk immediately geared themselves up and switched off the gas connections. Even lamps lit at the altar were put off as a precautionary measure”, she said.
District Collector N D Agrawal who reached the spot later directed the authorities to make lunch arrangements for the residents. Food packets were later distributed by the authorities.
Cuncolim Police Inspector Raju Raut, Quepem Mamlatdar Manoj Korgaokar and Deputy Collector Prashant Shirodkar played active role along with the villagers. Some the shopkeepers also downed shutters as a precaution.